Bad meetings are inevitable. Good meetings are fortunate. Great meetings are designed.
Meetings are a core component of knowledge work. However, very few people are trained on how to run them effectively. A focused, structured meeting benefits all the participants and moves everyone closer to their goals. Therefore, it is important to understand how to run a successful meeting.
Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates, has thought very deeply about the workplace. In addition to the unique methods that comprise the Bridgewater culture, Dalio has set out specific rules for productive meetings. A recent article in INC magazine focused on five of them. The first is very simple yet often overlooked: clarify the meeting’s purpose.
Dalio says that you should emphasize a meeting’s purpose well before it begins. That way, everyone can walk into the meeting prepared and the group can be intentional with their time. He also adds that “Meetings without someone clearly responsible run a high risk of being directionless and unproductive.”
Another rule of successful meetings is to avoid “topic slip”:
Topic slip, as defined by Dalio, is the “random drifting from topic to topic without achieving completion on any of them.” If you’ve ever left a meeting feeling more confused than when you walked in, topic slip is a likely culprit.
To dive deeper into these two rules and then learn the other three, visit the article on the Inc website.