I’ve been facilitating quite a few meetings lately. One of my challenges has always been how much time to allot for just general chit chat, banter or catching up. I think it’s important to invest in building relationships with the people on my team. On the flip side, everyone is busy, and our meetings are focused on achieving a set of key outputs, so we need to be keenly aware of how we use time.

I appreciate Wayne Turmel’s distinction between fun and fluff:

“Fun is taking a moment to ask people as they join the meeting what they did on the weekend. A minute or two is all it takes to learn that Rajesh is sleep-deprived because of a new baby (a universal problem and might explain why he’s slow answering your email) or that Marianne’s running a 10K next week, or Wayne’s Chicago Blackhawks lost in overtime to Dan’s LA Kings (followed by good-natured teasing and bonding).

Fluff is mandating that every person contribute every meeting something funny that happened on the weekend or do an ice-breaker exercise┬Ł that has no bearing on the work at all.”

How do you manage meetings in order to keep them fun and not too fluffy? Take a couple minutes to reconnect, and then proceed with a result-driven agenda.


Let’s revamp meetings together.

Photo from iStockphoto.