Run Meetings With Confidence
Running your meetings effectively allows managers to accomplish much more in a shorter amount of time. There’s even the added benefit of group involvement and buy-in.
This article highlights a few things to consider as you prepare to confidently run your meeting.
When your meeting is running with a lack of focus, you run the risk of them being much more time consuming. This also applies to meetings run without the right members or effective facilitation tools. However, they can also be extremely efficient when it comes to getting things done quickly, supporting the build of a team environment, and encouraging collaboration among key people to produce a better outcome than possible when working independently.
Below you will find some key steps when running an effective meeting that I myself utilize.
Attending to each of these steps will enable you to repeatedly create a well-organized productive experience, and therefore build your confidence that you can run effective meetings.
1. Meet With A Purpose
I’m sure you can ask almost anyone and they will have been to at least one meeting that seemed to have absolutely no purpose. How many Facebook memes alone have you seen on this topic? Be sure that when you call for a meeting you have a CLEAR reason for doing so. You should be able to provide the team with an agenda with key questions ahead of time. If you’re planning to share data, simply outline your key points. If your intention is to bond with the team, be sure you have an interactive environment.
2. Communicate Your Purpose / Agenda
So, you know why you’re meeting — great! Be sure to let everyone who will be attending know how long the meeting will be, where it will be held, and what information is to be covered. Also inform them of the goal of the meeting — what deliverables, outcomes, etc are expected so they can come prepared. Doing this will enable others to be able to contribute more effectively. Worst thing ever? Having a meeting to have another meeting for another meeting. Yes! You know who you are.
3. Supporting Materials
Come prepared with the appropriate supporting materials. Do you need forms to be filled out? Be sure to bring pens or pencils! Are you giving a presentation? Bring slides or handouts, etc. Ensuring everyone has everything they need before the meeting starts increases efficiency.
4. Everyone Present For A Purpose
Every single individual invited to the meeting should have a reason for being invited. More importantly, each attendee clearly understands his/her specific role. Consider each team members’ roles — How can they contribute? Please let them know what you expect from them BEFORE they arrive at your meeting. Another helpful tip for running effective meetings is to assign everyone a ‘meeting management’ role ahead of the meeting. A scribe to record key information and meeting minutes. A timekeeper to keep everyone on track and aligned with the agenda. A ‘devil’s advocate’ is another great one because by passively agreeing with all suggestions they create opportunities for creative debate and discussion.
5. Outcomes / Agreements Captured and Reviewed
Before ending the meeting, review the agreed upon action items, along with the responsible parties for each item as discussed during the meeting. If you’ve assigned meeting scribes, then this step should be relatively simple.
6. Initiatives Defined
Discuss roundabout timeframes for completion of action items, and also make sure to review next steps. Set expectations now for a follow-up meeting, if necessary. Let everyone know what you anticipate will need to be covered in the next meeting. Then follow up. This is key — send the original agenda with the meeting notes and the timeline with the names assigned to it. This holds everyone accountable, as well as ensuring there are no misunderstandings on who is doing what.
Every single person’s time is precious. Every. Single. One. Be sure to thank them for their participation and contributions. Motivate key participants by letting them know how helpful and productive their contributions were.
8. Process Reflection
What went well? What didn’t? What can I do better next time? Learning from each meeting allows you to find ways to improve and move forward.
Following these 8 steps will ensure that with practice, you will be effectively and smoothly running meetings—with confidence!