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New for you: an easy way to learn about managing difficult situations and conflict in groups. Listen at home or in the car to Great Meetings! Great Results CDs:

Queasy About Conflict -- an hour-long interview with Dee and Pam on defusing conflict in groups.

Putting out Brush Fires --
a 5 CD set of 5 hour-long teleclasses on how to intervene in difficult situations. It comes with a downloadable workbook.

Click here to purchase the CDs or to learn more about how Dee and Pam can help you create Great Meetings with Great Results!

Keeping the Group on Track: Preventative Measures

When Lynette goes on about her recent tennis injury or Jon talks about an upcoming vacation -- assuming these are not the topic of the meeting -- everyone gets frustrated. How do you keep meetings on track without alienating the group's members?

This week we will discuss some steps you can take at the beginning of a meeting to help keep the meeting on track

Meetings stay on track best when everyone understands and agrees about where the meeting is going and how you will get there. Following are a few key steps you might take to make that happen:

  • Establish and get agreement on the purpose and desired outcomes of the meeting, so everyone buys in to where the meeting is headed.
  • Set an agenda with realistic time limits.
  • If the group needs social time, build time into the agenda for personal check-ins. Just remember to stick to the time allotted.

  • Key Points To Take Away

    --- Meetings stay on track best when everyone understands and agrees about where the meeting is going and how you will get there.
    --- Put a written purpose, desired outcomes, and agenda flipcharts in front of the group to keep it focused.
    --- Establish a "parking lot" to hold topics that are unrelated to the discussion at hand.
    --- Create ground rules that support sticking to the agenda.

    Post the purpose, desired outcomes, and agenda on flipchart sheets or a whiteboard at the start of the meeting. They will serve as a constant reminder of what the group is doing.
  • Put up a sheet labeled "Parking Lot." Explain that this will be the place to put ideas that need to be "parked" until either later in the meeting or another time.
  • Establish ground rules that support staying on task. You might suggest "stick to the topic being discussed" or "avoid side tracks."
  • Appoint a time monitor to keep you on the time schedule you have laid out.

For more tips for keeping meetings on track, order your copy of Great Meetings! Great Results today.

NEXT WEEK IN GREAT MEETINGS: How to re-focus a meeting that has wandered off course.

About Great Meetings

Pam Plumb and Dee Kelsey are your facilitators in charge of Education World's Great Meetings series. They are also authors of the popular guide to meeting facilitation, Great Meetings! Great Results. Together, Pam and Dee have more than 40 years' experience facilitating change and training meeting leaders.

Learn more by clicking the links below:

* Read biographies
Learn about Pam and Dee.

* Read a "backgrounder"
What will you learn from this series?

* See the Great Meetings archive
See past articles in the series.

* Visit the Great Meetings Web site
Learn about the book, training workshops Pam and Dee offer, and more.

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