Harvard Business School Senior Lecturer Bob Pozen says there's an easy way to keep meetings efficient and productive: Don't invite everyone.
Invite too many people and “chances are they won’t be attentive or take responsibility for what’s happening,” he says. Invite too few and you may short on necessary information, ideas or opinion.
Instead of mass e-mailing anyone and everyone attached to the meeting topic at hand, only invite those critical to the meeting, he advises.
“Don’t feel you have to invite everyone who ever thought about the problem,” Pozen notes. “If you think someone might be offended, you can send out a memo and loop back with them afterward so they know what’s happening.”
Another key to better meetings is exercising solid facilitation skills. If you called the meeting, be prepared to direct any rambling back to the topic at hand; set the tone to ensure everyone feels welcome to participate; and manage meeting hijackers intent on taking over.
Pozen offers a diplomatic way to address the latter: “You’ve diverted us several times. Is there something that's bothering you?”
Click below for more suggestions on ending a meeting well and other key principles.