Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How To Get Control Of Your Meeting

In a recent meeting I attended at the Cavaliers, Lance Tyson was reviewing a few leadership ideas with the organization's management team.

There were about 12 people initially in the room for the upper leadership meeting, and after they finished up, the doors opened up to let the rest of the management team in. There was a 10 minute period of time when people were milling about and talking shop until Lance said, “OK. We're gonna start in about 5 minutes so finish up.”

I had an urge to run to the restroom, but I knew it would take me more than 5 minutes to run down to the restroom, do what I had to do, wash up, and run back to the conference room. And I remembered how we handled our early sales meetings before the age of the prolific conference call. If you weren't in the room when the meeting started, you were left out in the hall banging on a locked door.


And today was no different.

The second the 5 minutes were up, the doors closed and you couldn't get in from the outside.

And then we started the meeting.

Right at the start, Lance began with the house rules. One of those rules dealt with interruptions coming from everyone's personal hand toys. If a blackberry buzzed, the price was one dollar. If someone got caught thumbing through emails, the price was five bucks! And everyone selected one individual, someone everyone trusted in the group, to be the banker.

Then Lance did something strange. He reached into his wallet, pulled out a 5 dollar bill, and handed it to the banker. He said, “I don't plan on creating any interruptions, but if I can put up 5 bucks before the meeting starts, I think everyone can 'man up and put up' if they create an interruption”.

At that point, everyone turned their phones off, put them away, and we got down to business.

It was harsh, but the meeting wasn't interrupted by a buzz or a ring, and everyone's attention was focused on the topic at hand.

Charging people for ringing cellphones and locking the doors 2 seconds after the appointed time isn't for every meeting. However, if you have people rushing into the meeting 10 minutes late, you might want to try locking the door for a few meetings to encourage your chronically late team members to make it on time and to let everyone know that you are serious about not wasting everyone's time.

For more ideas on effectively running your meetings, review these 10 tips from the Dale Carnegie Knowledge Center.

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