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Nigel Risner shares seven ways to make your meeting more impactful…

1. Account for the loudmouth problem…
When placed into a group situation like a meeting, people rely on “messy proxies for expertise”, rather than deferring to competency. People take confidence, loudness, or even race as signals that a person is to be listened to. To defuse that distraction, don’t brainstorm – brainwrite.

2. Sit in a circle…
People who sat around circular tables were found to be more group-oriented than those arranged around square tables.

3. Complete the word, not the schedule…
Meetings don’t just last 15, 30, or 60 minutes. If the work is done in eight, bail: that’s what Sheryl Sandberg does.

4. Make sure the right people are in the room…
At companies that I coach, we insist on having the decision maker in the room as this leads to quicker decisions and more original products.

5. Turn your agenda into inquiries…
Instead of listing out the agenda with limp and open-ended declaratives, turn them into answerable questions. Suddenly, everybody knows what outcome is to be looked for and you’ll all know when it’s been found. For example:

• Don’t write: “Discuss video schedule”
• Do write: “When will videos be completed?”

6. Never order more than two pizzas…
Some old school Jeff Bezos (Amazon) wisdom: If the folks in the meeting can’t be fed by two pizzas, then the meeting is too big.

7. Mind the transition…
Before you change from one question on the agenda to the next, make sure everyone who wants to have a say on the topic can make their input. Why? Because otherwise they might be asking that question 15 minutes from now which gives everybody in the room the heavy cognitive costs of task switching.

www.nigelrisner.com

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