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5Ps of Effective Meetings

The “5Ps of Effective Meetings” is a simple memory device to help you, not surprisingly, run more effective meetings. Because of the increasing complexity of business operations, more and more often, problems require a collaborative solution. Those collaborative solutions tend to require meetings.

Unfortunately, this increased demand for meetings also tends to increase the waste associated with them. And make no mistake; the majority of meetings contain a tremendous amount of wasted time.

Using the “5Ps of Effective Meetings” can help reduce the waste these gatherings generate.

For many people, especially those in administrative areas, the number of meetings they attend tends to grow over time. Part of this is due to the changing workplace environment I mentioned earlier. Problems are simply more complex in a more complex world. They take teams to resolve.

There is also a tendency for people, as they rise to higher ranks in an organization, to be involved in more decision-making processes. Again, this means more meetings.

To battle the waste associated with this ever increasing time spent in these group settings, it is important to go into a meeting with an effective plan. One way to do this is to use the “5 Ps.”

The “5 Ps” we recommend include:

  1. Purpose: Every meeting should have a reason. Even weekly status meetings or things of that nature should have a clearly defined purpose.
  2. Participants: The leader of a meeting should carefully consider who he or she invites. Participants should be people who can make decisions or contribute information. It is wasteful to require attendance by people who could just be given a summary later. Smaller focused meetings trump longer wandering ones primarily because the intended use are more engaged resulting in less wasting of their time. Participants must also be punctual and give their full attention to the meeting. It is extremely disruptive to have people showing up late, or continually leaving a meeting to attend to other matters. Those sorts of actions add waste for all of the other participants.
  3. Process: How the meeting is conducted can make it proceed much more effectively. This includes making agendas, handling divergent topics, taking meeting notes, making decisions, communicating results, and a host of other points of order. You don’t necessarily have to get to the level of Roberts Rules of Order, but you definitely need a process.
  4. Product: In order to run a successful meeting, you need to know what it will deliver. Be clear in advance whether the meeting should have a list of action items, meeting minutes, a synopsis of decisions, or actual solutions.
  5. Preparation: The organizer of the meeting must, and I repeat, must, be prepared. This does not just include writing up an agenda and making sure the right people attend. The organizer should have done some research on the problem the attendees are attempting to fix. He or she should also help participants complete any preparation they may need to do.

You may also see probable issues, people (instead of participants), planning (instead of preparation), perspective, or progress.


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