Last night, I attended the Social Venture Partners (SVP Cincinnati) training session titled "Meetings Suck". Facilitated by Eric Peguro, he provided one of the most useful techniques for effectiveness in meetings that I had ever seen (or heard of). It came down to two words ..... "So That"
I had previously learned (and applied) the concept of being prepared for meetings at Accenture. I would always ask myself (or the team) to define what we hoped to accomplish in the meeting and what would be the definition of success. This technique came from the long tradition at Accenture with written course objectives and learning expectations in every training module at St. Charles. This technique was also a standard requirement in designing system training materials for any installation.
So when Eric said the most critical element of effective meetings was written desired outcomes, I was nodding in agreement. But he hit the "home run" with his definition of "proper" written outcomes:
(1) The outcome must be a noun (e.g. document, agreement, understanding, etc.). NO VERB ALLOWED!
(2) Add the words "SO THAT" after the outcome. This will define the accomplishment expected.
Try it out.
A 3 month action plan ..... SO THAT .... everyone will see our goal and how they fit into the effort.
Eric had many more "jewels" of wisdom in meeting effectiveness making the evening a self help junkies delight.