Merge's Blog

For effective meetings, hold “ball” meetings

You’ve no doubt attended your fair share of business meetings; in fact, if you’re in a formal leadership role, you’ve probably called a few yourself.  Given how pervasive meetings are in today’s world of work, you’d think that people would have figured out how to be more efficient and effective in meetings by now.  But alas, it is not so!  I am repeatedly told by clients how so many of the meetings they (are required to) attend are mind-numbing, ineffective and a waste of time.  As I have said repeatedly, it does not have to be that way.  Here are some previous blog posts on this subject:

Today (and later this week), I have two additional ideas to offer you on how to make your meetings more effective.  The first: have a “ball” meeting.  This approach is particularly effective if your attendees have the habit of either all talking at the same time, or of engaging in “side” conversations.  As you might expect, it involves the use of one ball, and the rule is that only the person who has the ball is allowed to speak.  If someone wants to provide input to the meeting, s/he has to either wait for the ball to be in hand, or ask for the ball in order to voice their opinion.  And one of the best things about a ball meeting is that the participants tend to self-moderate – they’ll make sure that only the person holding the ball is talking, and that no one person monopolizes the ball – which can make it a lot easier for you as the meeting’s leader.

I will be back later this week with one more idea; sneak preview, it’s called a “wall” meeting, but until then, what are some of your ideas for more efficient and productive meetings?  What are some of the things you are doing, or have observed?  Please share.

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