As a pastor, I used to spend an inordinate amount of time in meetings. I was lucky, because at my last church we had banned committees (we only had ministry teams) and most of our meetings were productive. (Generally, committees talk about things and teams do things… most churches would grow almost instantly, I believe, if they banned committees!)
Even so, we still had our share of unproductive or too long and unfocused meetings. The truth is, most of what we accomplish at meetings can probably be better dealt with through email, phone calls or good project management software (like Basecamp, for example).
While meetings are unavoidable, bad and time-wasting meetings are avoidable. I have been reading the book Rework by Jason Fried and the team at 37Signals (creator of Basecamp, btw). He has six simple rules for meetings that I think every organization could implement and would improve our meetings almost instantly:
1. Set a time. When it rings, meeting’s over. Period.
2. Invite as few people as possible.
3. Always have a clear agenda.
4. Begin with a specific problem.
5. Meet at the site of the problem instead of a conference room. Point to real things and suggest real changes.
6. End with a solution and make someone responsible for implementation.
What do you think?