Three Questions that Shape Productive Meetings

The way I see it, there are those of us who have sat through boring and unproductive meetings and there are those of us who have sat through boring and unproductive meetings. Not so sure how to deal with the boring part but by asking three questions at the end of your meetings, they will become more productive.

One of the major reasons that meetings become unproductive is because they often focus on the big picture without drilling down to the necessary actions each participant needs to take. Robert C. Posen, Senior Lecturer at Harvard Business School recommends asking every participant these three questions at the end of every meeting:

1. What do we see as the next steps?

2. Who should take responsibility for them?

3. What should the timeframe be?

These three questions will help each participant focus on what needs to be done, by whom and by when in order to accomplish the goals set out in the meeting. Posen also advises to transcribe the answers and send them out by email so everyone is on the same page and so that individuals are held accountable. Capturing actions in this manner is also one of the prerequisites of succeeding in Getting Things Done. We need to first capture our thoughts digitally in order to get tasks out of our heads and into a manageable workflow.

Armed with tis info, productive meetings will be as easy as 1-2-3. That will leave you with plenty of time to figure out how to make your meetings less boring.