This eye-catching title from a CNN Business article appeared recently: You're Running Your Meetings Wrong.

Offering plenty of solid meeting ideas to improve team interactions, the article invites twists in the meeting ideas that Idea Magnets will want to incorporate to run meetings RIGHT. To accelerate the potential benefits, employ the solid meeting ideas from the article while adding the twists.

5 Meeting Ideas (and Twists) for Idea Magnets

Meeting Ideas to Create Inspiration

Solid Meeting Idea 1: Create an exclusive invite list so only the people that need to be at a meeting are invited.

Twisted Advice: Explore exclusivity in multiple directions to ensure you have the right mix of attendees.

Meeting organizers often use an organization chart or a list of official responsibilities to narrow the attendee list. We recommend reviewing potential attendees based on other criteria:

  • What knowledge do we need in the meeting to be productive? Who needs to be there to share it?
  • What perspectives must be represented to ensure full treatment of important issues? Who can convey those perspectives?
  • Who will constructively provide the inspiration for us to discuss and act on the discussion?

The idea? Determine whether your original list fully addresses the knowledge, perspectives, and inspiration needed for success.

Solid Meeting Idea 2: Create a clear agenda ahead of time that focuses on the meeting objective and helps to manage time.

Twisted Advice: Develop a meeting outcome map so you can actively track outcomes as they happen (or don’t happen).

As you identify the meeting objective, break it down into all the component information, interactions, decisions, and whatever other elements will lead to the expected outcome.

Go into the meeting with an outcome map – essentially a checklist of all these components that will lead to fulfilling the objective. Use (or even display) it during the meeting. Note the parts of the outcome as they develop. This creates a real-time visual of how quickly and to what extent you’re progressing.

Solid Meeting Idea 3: Encourage broad participation, even requiring comments from everyone and limiting participation from dominating individuals.

Twisted Advice: Plan a variety of input opportunities to pave the way for people with differing communication preferences to share their views.

We’re not fans of putting numbers to how often people do or don’t participate. A meeting needs the right participation.

Plan your agenda with opportunities for varied inputs: individual verbal comments, verbal conversation, solo writing (or reviewing or voting), and perhaps even individual or group online contributions (which might happen before the meeting). Include time for reflection before making decisions. This approach permits people with different interaction styles to play to their strengths and actively contribute.

Solid Meeting Idea 4: Don’t be the dominant leader; set the stage and use questions to draw out the participants.

Twisted Advice: Maximize interaction time and opportunities to provide variety and move quickly toward meeting outcomes.

Before the meeting, use the meeting objective, the outcome map, and the participant list to determine what types of interaction will move the meeting ahead effectively and efficiently. How could you use each of these interactions?

  • One-to-many: To provide information most attendees don’t know
  • Many-to-many: To create multiple opportunities for exchanging perspectives and generating new ideas
  • One-to-one: To exchange perspectives and facilitate connections among attendees
  • Many ones: Individual time to provide input or perform work steps needed to advance the meeting

Plan the agenda to allow for the right interaction mix to accomplish your objective.

Solid Meeting Idea 5: Always provide a clear call to action – never hold meetings that fail to lead to definitive actions.

Twisted Advice: Close your meetings with a DAD review as a check on both progress AND a platform for identifying and acting on next steps.

A DAD review is one way to recap meeting outcomes. It notes what was:

  • Decided
  • Assigned
  • Deferred

Across these categories (and others you may want to add), you can recap decisions reached during the meeting, highlight assignments and responsibilities for people to act, and acknowledge what you didn’t address so you can bring items forward again or dismiss them from future discussion.

As with any advice, pay attention to solid counsel on meeting management, but never hesitate to put your own twist on it to make your team even more effective and productive. – Mike Brown

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