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Article by Shirley Fine Lee printed in

Sales and Service Excellence (The Magazine of Team Leadership)  - August 2007


Article Text

Meeting Miscues

Stop Making 10 Mistakes.

By Shirley Fine Lee

Many of us have been to meetings where things get out of control.  

You can have R.A!R.A! meetings. RA!RA! is an  acronym for Roles, Agenda, Records, and Actions—key elements to successful meetings.

Meeting leaders and attendees tend to make 10 common mistakes:

1. The meeting leader does not play the role of facilitator. A facilitator insures an agenda is set and meeting processes are agreed to and adhered to.

2. The recorder role is under appreciated. The recorder compiles the results of the meeting by taking meeting minutes and distributes them to all meeting members in order for them to take actions - and sends reminders.

3. The leader lacks a written agenda. Some meeting leaders feel that their meetings are short or specialized and don't require a formal agenda. By not providing an agenda at the start of the meeting, they quickly get off-track.

4. The leader allows random changes. Most leaders don't stick with the agenda. They let others talk out of turn or l change topics.   Changing an agenda to cover urgent topics should be done at the start with the agreement of all .

5. The agenda does not have times assigned to each topic.  Timelines help insure the meeting stays on track, that important topics get covered, and that the meeting starts and stops on time. Important and urgent items should always be the first items and should have extra time.

6. Records of meeting are not visible during meeting.  Ensure all idea generation, decision-making, and other discussions get recorded in a visible way during the meeting. Having a visible record using marker boards or flip charts often keeps members from repeating themselves, helps bring members back into focus when someone begins to stray.

7. Records of meeting are not distributed afterwards. Distributed minutes to attendees and other interested parties soon after the meeting. This allows members to correct mistakes and serves as a reminder of decisions made or actions to complete.  

8. Actions are not recorded during meeting. Recorder actions that come out of discussion as they come up. Even if the facilitator or recorder misses the action during discussion, one of the meeting members will likely recommend it be added to the list.

9. Actions are not assigned to people before meeting ends.  Make sure someone is assigned or volunteers to complete the action. At the end of each meeting assign any open actions and prepare an agenda for the next meeting.

10. Deadlines are not assigned to actions.  Follows the 3W rule for actions.: What is the action, Who will complete it, and When will it be done. Actions should be placed in the records. 


Shirley Fine Lee is the author of  "R.A!R.A! A Meeting Wizard's Approach".  Call 214-457-5736 or visit www.shirleyfinelee.com.

ACTION:  Avoid making these 10 mistakes.



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