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Spent some good quality time with our friends Jerry and Karen Denny over the weekend. They are a breath of fresh air!

Jerry is an expert on a few things. And one of those things is meetings. He is currently a traveling Bible teacher, but in his past life he was a product manager and trainer for a large technology company. So, he has a lot of practical insight. Here are a few things we gleaned from our conversations:

1. A meeting needs a purpose. If your meeting has no purpose, you can’t know whether you accomplished anything. You can’t know whether it was a good use of time.
2. A meeting needs structure. Jerry suggests an empowered timekeeper, who keeps the meeting moving, and makes sure every agenda item gets the time it deserves (and no more than it deserves).
3. A meeting needs everyone’s participation. Jerry suggests that you assign someone to keep an eye on the meeting an monitor everyone’s participation. Two big issues: nobody should be allowed to dominate; and nobody should be allowed to abstain. So the “watcher” may step in and say, “James, you have talked for the entire meeting. Now, we need to hear from Anne.” This is valuable for three reasons. First, you get everyone’s contribution to solving the problems on the table. Second, you strengthen the relationships of the people at the table. And third, by making sure everyone participates, you can be sure that everyone “owns” the outcome. So you don’t have a naysayer around the place, undercutting your efforts to implement the decisions.

These will be very helpful around here. Hope they help you too.

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