The top 10 meeting rules

Those are my 10 most important rules for a successful meeting:

For you to legitimately attend a meeting, you have to meet the following criteria:

* You contribute to the meeting's success.
You profit from attending the meeting.
You know goal and issues of the meeting as well as the expectations hold about you.
You come prepared.

Give all participants the opportunity to come prepared to your meeting. Inform them of the meeting's goal and agenda and distribute the necessary material at least three days in advance.

It's essential that every participant has the opportunity to talk. You can facilitate that by delegating tasks whose results have to be presented in the meeting.

Reserve enough time to prepare well for a meeting. Develop a standpoint or, even better, a solution to every issue named on the agenda.

Start and end the meeting in time. Define a meeting schedule and a time limit for every topic. If there's not enough time, delegate the topic or schedule a followup.

Avoid distractions and interruptions. Ask the participants to switch off their mobile phones and Crackberries.

The issues should be ordered by priority and be dealt with in descending order of significance.

Avoid dicussions that sidetrack the topic and don't contribute to reaching the session goal.

Before finishing the meeting, repeat and summarize your decisions. Every participant has to know what he or she has to do afterwards.

A protocol is mandatory. The shorter and simpler, the better. Many times, a handwritten sheet with the most important decisions, responsibilities and dates is sufficient.

Addendum: Many Meetings are productivity killers If a meeting isn't urgent, it can be postponed. If it's not even important, cancel it.