Meetings should be as brief as possible while still accomplishing objectives.
A version of this article was first published May 10, 2021, by HCPro's Credentialing Resource Center, a sibling publication to HealthLeaders.
Effective meeting management requires diplomacy and proven management techniques.
Physician leaders should be well prepared for each meeting, and they should be able to identify reasonable objectives. Meetings should be as brief as possible while still accomplishing objectives.
Here are some basic rules for planning and structuring effective meetings:
- Meet for a reason: Regularly scheduled meetings become meaningless when held out of habit. Weekly meetings, for example, can be productive, but it’s okay to cancel one now and then if there is nothing crucial to discuss.
- Set goals for each meeting: Write down two or three achievable goals before each meeting and work toward reaching them. Also, don’t keep the goals to yourself—tell the group what you hope to accomplish so everyone is pulling in the same direction.
- Notify participants in advance: Don’t wait until the last minute to call a meeting. If you’re organizing regular or standing meetings, end each one by identifying the date for the next meeting, and be sure that the medical staff services department gives physicians regular reminders.
- Consider the number of participants: When you’re talking about group dynamics, size really does matter. The bigger the group, the more competing views you’ll have to manage, and the less likely you’ll reach a consensus. If you have important decisions to make, keep the group as small as possible. However, if you’re holding a brainstorming session and need lots of input, you may want a larger group.
- Identify special issues or constraints: Physician leaders should identify any special considerations or constraints before every meeting. For example, the absence of key people or a tight deadline might affect the results of the meeting.
- Make sure topics are appropriate for the particular group: Don’t let things slip onto the agenda that the group isn’t authorized or qualified to address.
- Use outside experts wisely: Although it’s important to control the size of the meeting, sometimes you’ll need to invite people with special expertise to attend. You should be very willing to do so, but you may want to have them present only for the portion of the meeting that is relevant to them.
Editor's note: The preceding information is an excerpt from The Medical Executive Committee Manual by Mary J. Hoppa and William F. Mills.
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