We've all been stuck in long meetings that bounce aimlessly from one topic to the next. Instead of rolling your eyes, take control. Without bulldozing others, be brave enough to propose a solution:
- Play dumb. Ask someone in the room—preferably the strongest communicator—to help you understand what problem you're trying to solve and what needs to happen to resolve it. This is helping the group get to the purpose.
- Identify the decision-maker. Sometimes meetings stall because no one knows who is responsible for the decision or what the decision-making process is. Ask who that is and inquire about what the decision-making process will be. This helps get process to the surface.
- Get the right people in the room. Are there absentees who need to be there? Suggest rescheduling for a time when all the stakeholders can be present. This ensures inclusion and that the best thinking will be available for the group.
Adapted from Guide to Making Every Meeting Matter (HBR OnPoint Collection).