The Parking Lot Technique: Get meetings back on track!

Parking Lot Blog, WanderWeb Web Design and Business Strategy Bangor Maine

Have you ever been in a meeting (or road mapping session) that goes off the rails? 

For example, perhaps someone mentions a topic, and another person jumps in to add their thoughts. Before you know it, the entire group is now discussing something outside the scope of your meeting

How do you keep your meeting on track and off the shiny buttons? 

My friend, the Parking Lot method solves all these problems.

The Parking Lot is a placeholder for capturing ideas that should be addressed outside of the meeting. It keeps your meeting on course, and it shows the contributor(s) that you acknowledge their idea/concern.

Here’s how it works.

Draw a square on your whiteboard, blackboard, flip chart, smartboard, or whatever canvas you’re using to capture ideas in your meeting. If you don’t have a shared visible space for the parking lot, ask one team member to keep track of the parking lot in their notes.

At the end of the meeting, leave a few minutes to review the parking lot items. 

  • Whenever an idea or issue is no longer relevant, it should be removed. 
  • If an item can be addressed immediately in the time remaining, it should be discussed now. 
  • When an item needs additional homework (additional information needs to be collected for decision-making) or there is simply not enough time, it should be added to a future agenda or moved to an email conversation.

Boom. You are a facilitation ninja. 

Go forth and conquer.

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