Dear Meeting Guru,

"Whenever my team is tasked with making decisions in a meeting, we always end up wasting most of our time on minute details. It takes forever to come to a decision, if we do at all. What is an effective decision-making process for meetings?"


Blessed Meeter,

Achieving a decision can be a rare occurrence in some meeting rooms. Here are some tips for ensuring decisions are made in your meetings and helping the process run more smoothly.

Determine the meeting’s goal and state it clearly before, and several times during, the meeting. For example, “The purpose of this meeting is to decide on the publications in which we will advertise this year.”
Help attendees be better prepared by sending them all relevant information for their review prior to the meeting.
Brainstorm possible courses of action on a whiteboard so attendees can refer to them throughout the decision-making process.
Explore the potential outcomes of each option including both the benefits and difficulties.
Define and prioritize the criteria for judging the options. For example, is cost the most important factor, followed by past results? Having these criteria will help the process move more quickly.
Determine how the decisions will be made – will you need full consensus or will the majority win?
Make your final decisions, record them and send them to all attendees and other colleagues who are affected.
Follow through with your decisions.

As Peter F. Drucker, author of The Effective Executive, said, “No decision has been made unless carrying it out in specific steps has become someone's work assignment and responsibility.” In other words, successful decision making requires that you follow through with your decisions. Otherwise, you’ll have succeeded in nothing more than wasting people’s time.

Until next time… may good meeting karma be with you.



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