We continue our dive into comparing thought-provoking internal meeting guidelines, from a Harvard Business Review blog article by Amy Gallo, with Actio’s convention guidelines, that stop meetings from wasting our precious time.

4.  SMALL MEETING WISDOM: Stand up meetings are more productive. These meetings are proven to be 34% shorter than sit-down meetings, yet produce the same solutions. But don’t let the format distract you from what really matters – running an effective meeting.

BIG MEETING WISDOM: Incorporate the unexpected. To optimize engagement conventions and conferences benefit from outside the box formats that provide two-way dialog between attendees and presenters. Some formats are the table team that develops solutions for each others’ real-world challenges together based on the topic. Another is Open Space meetings, where the attendees bring the topic in a collaborative and nearly unstructured environment designed for optimal creativity and problem solving.

5. SMALL MEETING WISDOM: Make sure everyone participates and cold-call those who don’t. People like to know that their opinions are being heard and considered. Just by asking for their opinion, you are raising their commitment to the issues discussed.

BIG MEETING WISDOM: Create an inclusive experience. The loudest advocates and detractors rarely represent the average attendee. By incorporating audience response, best practices, and town hall-styled sessions, a large conference/convention includes the broadest segment of the attendee population.

6. SMALL MEETING WISDOM: Never hold a meeting just to update people. Besides wasting time and undermining the perceived value of future meetings, there is also the depletion of executive and other human resources better utilized elsewhere.

BIG MEETING WISDOM: Don’t have an event just “because that’s the way we do it.” The quickest way to get your attendees to “check out” and de-value a regularly held event is to populate it with repetitive content. Surprisingly, however, that is what many companies do anyway, and as a result they see either attendance (non-mandatory) and/or adoption of new behaviors and learning dropping.

7.    SMALL MEETING WISDOM: Always set an agenda ahead of time – and be clear about the purpose of the meeting. Have a plan gives us the opportunity to clarify our intentions and think through the forces that could make it difficult to accomplish our goals.

BIG MEETING WISDOM: Know your objectives and communicate them in advance. The ROI of an event is measured based on the success objectives held by key stakeholders. Too often, organizations do not stop to articulate the objectives of an event from the outset. If they would, the creative, content and experience would flow naturally to drive those objectives. Without that, if your meeting doesn’t know where it is going, any road will get you there.
Pre-communication objectives to attendees gets buy-in and ensures they arrive ready to participate in meeting the objectives, rather than wasting precious meeting time trying to get their bearings and focus.