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What’s the Secret to Running Effective Meetings?

Bob Pozen, Senior Lecturer, Harvard Business School

Learning Objectives: At the end of this activity, you will be able to:

  • Explain several appropriate reasons for setting up a meeting.
  • Discuss how to effectively prepare for a meeting.
  • Identify five common mistakes meeting leaders make.
  • Identify five components that can lead to a successful meeting.

Description: When was your last bad meeting? Last week? Yesterday? An hour ago?
We’ve all been in bad meetings — meetings that drag on, meetings that don’t seem to have a purpose, and meetings that don’t end with concrete next steps. What’s the solution? In a new IHI Open School Short, Bob Pozen, a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School and a senior research fellow at the Brookings Institution, provides clear, simple advice on how to run a good meeting.
Pozen, the author of Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours, shares practical tips on when to call a meeting, how to prepare for a meeting, and how to effectively lead a meeting. With help from a vignette, he also shares the bad behaviors we should all avoid. “While these principles for good meetings seem straightforward, they are violated all the time,” Pozen says. “But you can take the lead in your organization in improving meetings by following the simple rules in this video.”

Discussion Questions:
  1. Pozen presented four appropriate reasons for scheduling a meeting. Do you agree with his list? What, if anything, would you add or remove?
  2. Pozen shared five common mistakes leaders make in meetings. Which one do you think is most detrimental to a meeting?
  3. Pozen shared five keys to a good meeting. Which one do you think is most important to running a good meeting?
  4. Think about the last effective meeting you had. Why was it so effective?
  5. Think about the last ineffective meeting had. Why was it so ineffective?
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