Meetings are a fact of life. They play an integral role in how our departments, committees, and hospitals make decisions, implement new projects and processes, convey information, and, unfortunately, take up our precious time.
Perhaps you’ve been thrust into the role of leading meetings—as the head of a quality initiative task force, or as facilitator of a brainstorming session on a quality of care issue—or maybe you’re just beginning to face that possibility. How can you hone your skills to ensure that your meetings are on track, fulfill their goals, and waste as little time as possible?
Watch and Learn
Russell L. Holman, MD, senior vice president and national medical director, Cogent Healthcare, and president-elect, SHM, put a lot of effort into mastering his meeting leadership skills, beginning early in his career. “I was working in an organization that was meeting-rich,” recalls Dr. Holman. “It was important to me to learn that way of getting things done.”
He began with the simple act of watching how others led meetings, noting what some did right and others did wrong. “A lot of my work has been through observation, and through seeking out mentoring,” he says. It helps to have spent time sitting in many meetings before you become a leader. “You can see how things are done. When you observe someone who does well at leading a meeting, ask to sit down with them and ask how they set out to accomplish the goal of the meeting.”
Learn as You Go
As a hospitalist, you are likely to assume the role of meeting leader. You can then concentrate on refining your skills with each meeting. “Seek feedback of the senior people participating, as well as general participants,” suggests Dr. Holman. “Do a bit of analysis if there were conflicts in the meeting, or if you feel the group is not making progress.”