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Electronic Newsletter                 Issue 2008-03


March 2008

In this issue Striking Statistic, Timely Tip, Group Gathering, Movie Minutes, and Quick Quote


This bimonthly

e-news is made available to further the mission:


To help organizations increase employee and system potential to produce results.”








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     Shirley Lee
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In a Microsoft Office survey, 35% of U.S. respondents  chose ineffective meetings among their top wasters of time.



Meetings often get off track when attendees go off on unrelated subjects called rabbit trails.  When someone gets on a rabbit trail, they can easily be refocused to the meeting topic using simple meeting management techniques.


There are two simple tools that may be used to refocus the group before a rabbit trail goes too far. 

  1. One is to have a written agenda with timeframes and get everyone’s agreement to that agenda at the beginning of the meeting. 

  2. The other is having a large written record of what the group has accomplished thus far in the discussion.  This can help keep the group focused and can be used to bring interest back if the group seems to be going in another direction.

Read more details in article  "How Can We Get Off This Rabbit Trail?" online at http://ezinearticles.com/?id=915149 



If only all team meetings were highly focused and rabbit trails were never a problem, wouldn't that be grand.  If a team is having problems with maintaining their focus in most meetings, then it is time to do something.  Try the discussion activity below to help the team understand why they are having a problem maintaining focus and then develop an agreed upon plan for future meetings to avoid the problem.

  1. Identify the discussion topic as "meetings lack focus."

  2. Brainstorm a list of 10-12 possible causes for members losing focus during meetings.

  3. Identify the top 1 or 2 causes by combing like items on the list and then allow each member to vote on 2 causes they wish to address. The 2 causes with the most votes will be the top issues to address in next step.

  4. Allow plenty of time for team to discuss possible solutions that may prevent these 2 causes in future meetings.  Be sure to focus on the issues and not on particular members.

  5. Have the team reach consensus of the best 1-2 solutions for the "meetings lack focus" problem.

  6. Get the team to agree to test the solutions in their next 2-3 meetings.  

  7. After the test period, have the team quickly evaluate how well they think their solutions are working.

Note:  You may use the video below in step 1 to introduce the activity or you may use as it an example for step 4.



Click arrow to play YouTube video "How to Stop Rabbit Trails in Meetings" by using the Meeting Agenda. 

Or go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qTZWPBvlxU




"Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.” - Peter F. Drucker




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