Reading this CNN article on how different types of people (on both the meeting leader and attendee sides) can derail a small meeting reminded me of what I think was the very first article I wrote for the MeetingsNet magazines: How to Keep Your Small Meeting and Attendees On Track. In re-reading it 13 years later, I think it still makes a lot of sense. For example:
• Have a time limit and stick to it.
• Break larger groups into smaller ones if you want to have meaningful discussions.
• Do a quick and painless teambuilding exercise at the beginning to help the group coalesce.
• Allow everyone to have an opportunity to have an equal say.
• Use nonverbal cues to bring ramblers back to earth.
• Be willing to pull the plug if the meeting is irretrievably lost.
And more. But what I like most about this article is that I got to interview my dad (Quincy Abbot) for it! What are your best small meeting management techniques? We all struggle with these, especially staff meetings, so any tips you have to share would I'm sure be useful.