20 May 2007

Fisher file advice on meetings

I found Peter Fisher's advice about meetings in Episode 5: Calendars and Meetings particularly useful. Now I'll know what to do when I become a postdoc and start to waste my life in meetings!

I took some notes on the main points.

Rules about meetings
  1. Unless there is a compelling reason, meetings should not last more than one hour.
  2. Always send an agenda to everyone ahead of time. Never start a meeting without an agenda.
  3. No multitasking during meetings; really pay attention.
  4. Write a polite email to the organizer if you aren't going to go.
  5. The most important meetings are where a decision is made. PREPARE for these meetings.
  • Schedule a meeting against a hard deadline like the end of the workday (I need to go home and eat dinner) or the beginning of a seminar
  • The chair of the meeting should make sure that all the items of the agenda are addressed briskly
  • The chair should start the meeting by calilng on people
  • When the conversation starts to repeat or become unproductive, the chair should summarize the main points of the discussion and then end with "is there anything else?
  • If someone tries to repeat something, the chair should say "Oh, we already covered this, moving on ..."
  • Eventually, people will get the idea that the meeting needs to move along

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