Like any tool, meetings work when they are right for the job and skillfully handled. Otherwise, they don't pay off—time is wasted, people are frustrated, objectives aren't met. When you're in charge, make sure that doesn't happen. Here's how:
Before things start. Decide if a meeting is necessary to achieve the results you want. That depends, of course, on what those results are, and it's important that you approach even an open-ended meeting with an idea of what you'd like to take away from it. Let this desired outcome, rather than convenience or your schedule or stress level, be your guide. If your results will be better after some brainstorming or back-and-forth dialogue, call a meeting. If you just need input from, or to give instructions to, the participants, consider using other means instead. But remember, there are times when a meeting is more efficient and effective than, say, a complicated e-mail exchange.
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