There’s Hope for Better Meetings

Hello, I’m Kathleen Paris. I am a consultant in the office of Quality Improvement at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. As a consultant, I design literally hundreds of meetings. And I’ve created this section to help you as an academic leader to design and lead more effective meetings. Meetings consume more of our time than any other single other activity but far too many of the meetings that devour our time are poorly planned and poorly led. We seem to accept that inefficient meetings are inevitable. In fact, it almost seems like part of our academic culture that we have to attend long and useless meetings.

At the same time, communication and problem solving in a group is important. There are some things that you simply have to communicate and work out with other people, and groups can almost always think in more and different ways than individuals working alone if the group task is well designed. You and campus leaders like you can make a difference. The tools and approaches in this section can help ensure that the meetings for which you are responsible are productive and worthwhile. It can also make you a more discriminating meeting attender. When you see meetings that are rambling and unfocused, or that don’t have an agenda, or don’t start when they are supposed to, hopefully, you will have been encouraged to speak up and help make those meetings be better as well.

If you have any questions about planning an upcoming meeting or about meetings in general, please contact me via email. There is a link on the homepage.