How-to

The Quick Tip: Tips and Tricks to Better Manage Your Meetings – The Chronicle of Higher Education


A new academic year means lots and lots of meetings. Here’s how to make them more productive and less contentious.

When the usual suspects do all the talking and the loudest voices drive all the conversations, you miss opportunities to consider better options. Amplifying diverse voices is a not a radical idea — it is, after all, a fundamental way that good leaders make people feel included.

On every campus, plenty of people long to be seen and heard in meetings, yet feel like their voices don’t matter. With varying degrees of pain, outrage, and/or exhaustion, they utter words like “ignored,” “dismissed,” and “silenced.” But there are things you can do to manage the meeting’s power dynamics and floor time, and spur productive, inclusive conversations. Here are a few strategies to get you started:

  • Track who’s talking. Naturally there are apps to help you do this. But a low-tech approach works, too: At the beginning of a meeting, write down everyone’s name. Then make tick marks as each person speaks. Over time, you can see patterns.
  • Establish ground rules for the discussion. The rules don’t have to be complex. They can be simple commitments like: Raise your hand to speak; don’t revisit agenda items that have already been decided; and call out credit-stealers and interrupters.
  • Rotate meeting leadership. That not only gives the powerful people a chance to listen, it also encourages broad participation and builds the meeting-facilitation muscles of everyone on the team.

Continue reading:10 Ways to Better Manage Your Meetings,” by Allison M. Vaillancourt

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Suggestions for what you’d like to see here? Other thoughts? Please email Denise K. Magner, a senior editor who compiles this newsletter, at denise.magner@chronicle.com.





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