Merge's Blog

Not getting things done in your meetings? Here’s a powerful way to change that

Since the beginning of this year, I’ve been sharing specific ideas on the blog about getting things done, on improving your productivity.  As I have mentioned in earlier video posts, many leaders tell me that poor meeting management seriously hampers their ability in getting things done.  And in fact, my last two instalments in this video series (four-column agendas, “action minutes”) have focused specifically on ideas to overcome this.  So I thought I’d share another tip today on how you can make your meetings a powerful source of getting things done.  It is to assign three key roles in every meeting.

Assign three key roles in every meeting

There are three critical roles that are required for every successful meeting.  The three roles are chairperson, timekeeper, and minute taker.  Now, this is important, the three roles must be filled by three DIFFERENT people.  If you’ve been to the meeting from hell, you already know what happens when the same person plays all three roles – it doesn’t work out that well!  A chairperson can’t effectively be a minute-taker, and a time-keeper isn’t really the best person to be chair.  Three different people must hold these three responsibilities.  Now what exactly will each of these three people actually do?

What should each role do?

The chairperson is responsible for running and facilitating the meeting – keeping the meeting on track and moving forward based on the agenda, making sure all relevant input is being solicited and gathered, and smoothing over rough spots as necessary.  The chair checks in with the time-keeper and minute-taker as necessary and keeps things moving forward.

The timekeeper’s role is pretty straightforward, but don’t underestimate its importance.  The job of timekeeper is paramount – he or she is responsible for letting participants know when the allotted time for an agenda item is up.  The time-keepers job is to step in and stay something like “quick time-check, we have 5 minutes left on this agenda item.”

The minute taker’s role is exactly what it sounds like – he or she is responsible for producing a written record about key aspects of the meeting using action minutes.  And if you don’t know what action minutes are, my last video blog explains this clearly.

Getting things done in meetings is not only possible, it’s a great way to improve your productivity.  So keep these three very important roles in mind.

If you’re finding this series on productivity tools for leaders to be helpful, here are the links to previous instalments:

Or just access this whole series and others in our Video Archives.

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