Do you know the difference between an effective meeting and an efficient meeting? So many articles are written about structuring your meeting in a particular way to make them the most efficient. Let's face it - we all have too many meetings and a little efficiency would be good right? I have been in "efficient" meetings and it felt a bit militaristic and not very human-friendly. We spent more time worrying about structure than we did about the actual topic of the meeting.
Sarah Goff-Dupont does a great job in this article transforming an efficient meeting into an effective meeting. She has several great suggestions for keeping a meeting "human" and accomplishing the goals and objectives of the meeting.
Effective meetings keep attendees engaged
"It’s ok to start the meeting by setting the expectation that everyone is 100% focused on what’s going on in the room. Let the group know that if someone has work that is so pressing they’d be tempted to multi-task, they have permission to go do that work and catch up on what happened in the meeting later. They’ll produce better work, and you’ll have more engaged participants. Win-win"
This is a huge pet peeve of mine: people on their cell phone or laptop doing other work (or Facebook) while in the meeting. I once had a direct report who spent the entire meeting tweeting to his friends. I would have to send him a text message in the middle of the meeting to tell him to put his phone down! Why bother coming.