Effective Meetings Require Structure

Meetings require structure to be effective. Using the PALPAR acronym makes it easy to frame discussion and produce better results. In this video, Dr. Richard Lent describes the benefit of PALPAR meeting tool.

P – “Present” your topic or decision

A – “Ask” a couple of questions to guide feedback

L – “Listen” to feedback you receive writing it down as you hear it

PAR – “Pause and Reply” do not respond to the feedback as it comes at you, integrate what you and provide feedback later

After viewing the video, answer a “Question to Ask” and select and “Idea for Action” to incorporate into your next meeting.


Ideas for Action

  • Physical structure has an effect on meetings, so switch it up this week. Reserve a different room on a different floor or go out of your building. If your meeting needs to generate ideas, look for creative venues that are out of the norm. If you need to get down to brass tacks, keep the meeting area clean, simple, and free of distractions. Think about the purpose of the meeting when planning the place and time.
  • If you notice that employees all sit in more or less the same places in meetings, play a quick game of musical chairs. Have everyone get up and switch seats, move around, and generally get out of their comfort zones. As part of this exercise, do not exempt yourself; make sure you sit next to a different person at each meeting.
  • Practice the first half of PALPAR. Present your subject clearly and concisely. Then ask a few questions to get people thinking about the topic, how they feel about it, and what they believe the next steps are. Give employees a few minutes to discuss the issues, either in pairs or small groups. As you listen to the feedback, write down any pertinent points.
  • Instead of responding to employee feedback right away, pause and reflect. Give yourself time to think about everyone’s input. Look at the situation from each person’s unique perspective. Consider the possible positive or negative outcomes.
  • Suggest a time when you will be ready to discuss and respond to the feedback you received. Be sure to follow up; otherwise, employees may feel ignored or devalued. Be specific in addressing employees’ concerns and suggestions.

Questions to Ask

  • How effective are your meetings right now? Does work actually get done?
  • What would you most like to change about the meetings you attend?
  • Do employees feel like they are being heard, that they have a voice?
  • What else can you do to bring structure to meetings?
  • In most meetings, who is really leading?