How to Make Better Decisions in Meetings

Ground zero for most decision making is in the meeting.  Well, maybe not the meeting, but in some kind of conversation between two or more people.  Whether that takes place inside of a meeting or conference room or in the bathroom – that depends on the culture of your organizations.Business line-up

Successful decisions happen in successful meetings

No matter how you slice it — successful decisions come from a successful interaction.  Last week, QuestionPro sponsored it’s first Tweet Chat to talk about meetings; the good, the bad, the ugly and anything in between.

Here’s a summary of just some of the key points of the discussion.  We asked only five questions, but generated nearly 600 tweets across 75 contributors.  And some of these contributors knew a little something about making decisions because they were heavy hitters in the small business space.  The chat was moderated by content strategist and Forbes contributor, TJ McCue.

1. On successful meetings: There are many negative meeting experiences — tell us some of your positive ones.

Instead of bitching and moaning, this group got off to a running start focusing on what works for great meetings:

  • Agendas
  • Starting and ending on time
  • One topic at a time
  • How decisions will be made
  • Good facilitation

Those are just the highlights — what about you?  What are your criteria for successful meetings?  Write your answer in the comments below.

Handling big egos: How do you keep big egos in check during group meetings?

Big egos are a problem in most meetings.  That can be a real challenge when the big ego is the boss.  So how do these pros handle it?  We had some jokesters offering suggestions such as not inviting them, bringing duct tape or not hiring them — but you’re looking for something more practical than that.  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Definitely use a facilitator and make sure everyone gets a chance to provide input
  • Use a process – such as asking people to write suggestions down individually, then talk about each one.
  • Directly solicit input from participants.

Get the meeting started right:  We’ve believe that… Stating the objective for the meeting — right at the start, can help put things in the proper perspective. What do you do to put a meeting on the “right foot” so to speak.

  • We tried that before” is not a good excuse for not trying something now — how do you keep decision making moving when someone tries to stall the effort?
  • What are your top tips for improving decision-making in business settings?

Staying on track: “We tried that before” is not a good excuse for not trying something now — how do you keep decision making moving when someone tries to stall the effort?

  • Get to the root of the problem.  Find out the details about what didn’t work and why.  See how you can incorporate what you learned from past experience.
  • Give examples of how it’s worked for others.
  • Be in action.  Sometimes it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission.

Taking it to the next level: What are your top tips for improving decision-making in business settings?

  • Focus on the business decision and take ego and pride out of it.
  • Make a decision.  Do not walk away from the meeting with “we need more info.”
  • Don’t fall in love with your own idea.  Be open minded and consider all the options.

I’ve pulled out just some of the recurring and popular strategies and tips from our #QPChat.  If you’d like to see the entire conversation, head over to http://www.twubs/QPChat and see the entire conversation.

Better yet, why not leave your tips for better meetings in the comments below!

Ivana Taylor is the publisher of DIYMarketers and the President of Third Force, a strategic marketing firm. She's the marketing expert and book editor for Small Business Trends and a frequent contributor to AMEX Open Forum.

Posted in Decision Making
2 comments on “How to Make Better Decisions in Meetings
  1. Henri says:

    This is a great articles about group decision making! I’m a strong advocate for collaborative, group decision making in business, and meetings are a great place to initiate them.

    Collaborative decision-making has been proven to reduce the risk in decision making, and make the process more transparent and accountable.

    Which is why our start-up specifically created a tool that turns meetings, collaboration and conversations into actual decisions!

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