It’s scarcely believable that just twenty-five years ago personal computing was still in its infancy, fax machines were enormous drum-shaped things that even then looked like they belonged in a museum and mobile phones didn’t even exist. Emails? Never heard of them.

Of course with all today’s wireless technology it’s a different world. We are infinitely more efficient and productive.

Are we?

Sometimes it seems nothing has changed very much. Take for instance the way some people approach business meetings. They arrive under-prepared, with no agenda and no clear idea of what they want to achieve from the meeting. Result? Everyone talks round and round, getting nowhere in particular and the whole thing runs on far longer than planned.

So here are some tips for good meeting culture.

  • Decide exactly what you want to achieve in advance and agree this with your team
  • Read any background information necessary well before the meeting and nag the other side to do the same (bound to save time on the day)
  • At the meeting, get everyone to help themselves to refreshments
  • Have a written agenda
  • Keep the meeting down to 45 minutes maximum. Never run over
  • Flag up a ten minute warning at the 35 minute mark
  • Summarise action points and agreements reached at the end of the meeting and email these to participants afterwards

Apart from the email, none of this requires technology of any sort. Just a bit of common sense.

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