In my previous post, I emphasized the importance of first asking and then answering, five key questions before holding any meeting; digital or otherwise. If your analysis concluded the meeting is necessary, then it’s time to spring into action with the 5 “must haves” for a running a great meeting.
1. Management in Action
To remain positive and optimistic regarding the need for holding meetings, remember they are a form of management in action. Meetings are essential to advancing the goals of the organization, as they provide leaders and their teams, the opportunity to pursue important objectives. As well, meetings provide the structure to respectfully discuss challenges and come-up with solutions.
2. Prepare in Advance
Once you’ve determined the meeting is necessary, prepare in advance by drafting your agenda, beginning with a description of the meeting’s purpose. Twenty five words or less should be ample. Next, organize the topics in order of importance and distribute the agenda 24 to 48 hours in advance. Invite only those people whose attendance is critical to the meeting.
3. Begin on Time
Begin the meeting on time with your statement of purpose and announce the finish time of the meeting. Assume the late comer is not coming at all and if they do show up late, continue on with the agenda as planned. Keep the meeting on track and do not embarrass the late comer(s) by commenting on their tardiness. If it’s necessary, address the issue privately and offline.
Learn to Run Better Meetings
4. Meeting Participation
Encourage orderly participation and open discussion throughout the meeting, which is most effectively done by avoiding criticism as a form of feedback. As you reach resolution on each point on the agenda, summarize it in speech and on paper. Let your team know you are committed to acting on each of the action items, where possible.
5. Conclude and Take Action
Conclude the meeting by deciding what action is going to be taken and delegate responsibility. Get agreement on who is going to do what and by when. Remember, a discussion without commitments and deadlines is merely a wasted conversation. Where confidentiality allows, have the minutes typed and distributed to participants within 24 hours after the meeting concludes.
“Leading successful meetings does not happen by chance. If you work on becoming excellent at this critical skill, you’ll drive more engagement with your team and improve your results in every area.”