Conducting productive staff meetings

Learn how to run a better staff meeting.

Q. When I call staff meetings, they always seem to go off track or we get hung up on one point and don't get to talk about everything I'd hoped. Do you have any pointers for running better meetings without me having to act like a dictator and not allowing anyone else to talk?

A. Meetings should be scheduled on a routine basis, never on an impulse. They should be run from a strict agenda. The meetings should stick to the agenda, and any new topics should be added to the next meeting so that they do not distract from planned topics. Schedule the meetings so there is a natural "hard stop"-for example, the start of patient appointments or at the end of the morning session just before lunch. Frame a question before it is addressed, and tell the group members how long they can deliberate before moving on. Once the culture of meeting discipline is established, it will be easy to keep colleagues on track.