Question:  What’s the ideal number of people to have at a meeting?
Answer:  It depends.

The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article talking about “The Plan to End Boring Meetings”.  I’ve heard the statistic that 80% of the business meetings we hold are ineffective. Below is part of my plan to start to eliminate some of these.  

I would like to think that (after reading my book PerfectTIMING), people are putting some of the meeting guidelines I suggest in place and having better meetings.  I see evidence of that in the companies with which I work, but instead of making today’s blog about plugging my book, let’s get to few things you may we at to consider for the meetings at your organization.  Sometimes we have too many people or the same people at our meetings.  

Let’s begin by looking at how many people we really need at the meeting as the start to future meeting successes.  Although the number of people attending depends on many you have in the organization, here are some suggestions for the ideal number of people for specific types of meetings:

1 PERSON is all it takes to focus on the plan for your day.  That’s your private time.

2 PEOPLE is what you need to have a good heart-to-heart conversation, a performance review, a moment of recognition for an employee.  As is sometimes said, 1+1=3, when you think of the brainpower two people working together have.

3 PEOPLE is ideal to plan a schedule, have a reprimand session (where you should always have another manager or someone from Human Resources present for the conversation) or maybe do some light brainstorming.

4 PEOPLE or more is great when you were going to discuss a policy decision, (one always being your human resources professional or someone who understands and handles that area).  It’s also good for short brainstorming.

5 PEOPLE would be great for a task force to come up with a system, program or event you are going to hold.

5-10 PEOPLE would be ideal to lead the organization, each representing their discipline.

10-30 PEOPLE is ideal for training, informing or persuading a group so that everyone can hear specific people address a topic.  Then you only need to say it once.

Although the size of your organization will make these numbers vary, this is a good guideline to consider so that you don’t get too many people involved in what can be done by just a few.

                                                              ACTION STEPS FOR THIS WEEK:
    1.  How many meetings do you hold in a week or month?
    2.  Do you need the number of people you presently have in those meetings?
    3.  Start a list of ONLY the people you need at each meeting.  Is that who you have attending now?

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The Executive Coaching Experience
by Daniel P. Chiodo
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