What is the Parking Lot meeting method?

Parking Lot

Parking Lot is a meeting method where off-topic ideas and questions are written down (or "parked") on a separate list to keep the discussion focused.

The Parking Lot meeting method is a practical approach to maintain focus during meetings by parking off-topic yet relevant ideas for discussion later. Imagine you're in a meeting, and an important but unrelated concept or question comes up. Instead of diverging from the topic at hand, you simply place this idea into the 'Parking Lot.' This way, the flow of the meeting isn’t interrupted, and the idea isn’t lost. At the end of the meeting, you can review these 'parked' items to decide if they should be addressed in future discussions or delegated for individual follow-up.

Using a Parking Lot not only helps in keeping the meeting concise and on track but also respects all participants' contributions by acknowledging that while their points are valid, they might be more productive at another time. It’s a balance between staying on course and allowing room for all voices to be heard, ensuring that meetings are both efficient and inclusive.

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Parking Lot

Why should you use a parking lot in a meeting?


A parking lot is highly effective in managing meeting time and maintaining focus on the agenda at hand. By using a parking lot, you can avoid the common pitfall of meetings deviating into tangential discussions, which can lead to loss of focus and extended meeting times. Additionally, it ensures that valuable ideas and questions are not dismissed but are instead revisited at a more appropriate time or meeting, enhancing the overall productivity and inclusiveness of your team dynamics.

When should you use a parking lot in a meeting?


The parking lot method should be employed in meetings whenever an off-topic yet relevant issue arises that does not directly contribute to the current agenda. This can be during any type of meeting, whether it's a board meeting, team alignment session, or any other workshop. It’s particularly useful in meetings where time is constrained and topics are densely packed. The facilitator or meeting chair can note these points to ensure they are addressed later, either in subsequent meetings or through other suitable communication channels.

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