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Facilitating a Successful Meeting

Posted on July 29, 2009

Andrea Schneider (bio) explains how offering help on projects can make a space for you on a team.


So are there times when somebody calls a meeting and you leave the meeting not knowing what you're supposed to be doing? It's been a huge waste of time. Only one person's talked. All of these things that typically happen poorly in meetings.

And that's something where wherever you are on the pecking order, you could be the most junior researcher, you still might be of use to the manager or the principal investigator in offering to do things like, "You know what? For the next meeting can I help you by preparing an agenda? Can I help by thinking about who else we need to invite to this meeting," and basically offering to help in what are often seen as mundane or very administrative posts of sending out the email to call people to the meeting or setting up that agenda, covering the goals or writing the follow-up email.

But in fact those are the things that make for successful teamwork and successful meetings. It's really having an agenda, thinking about how the process of the meeting is going to operate, what is the follow-up to the meeting, so that whatever you've planned at the meeting actually occurs and you have a product coming from the meeting.

And those are the things that, again, appear administrative, and so maybe the person who's ostensibly in charge would be willing to let somebody else do them, but you're the one who's actually making things happen. You're the Energizer bunny there, and that's a very well nice will to have because the Energizer bunny in the end is the one who's going to make things happen. And the principal investigator realizes that.

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Excerpted from interview with professor at the 2009 Career Development Institute for Psychiatry in Palo Alto, CA.


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