Do any of these feel familiar? The computer “dings” with that faint sound of another meeting request jumping into your calendar.
But meetings don’t have to be a time drain. In fact, when done properly, they are an excellent tool for communication, collaboration and fresh energy.
Yes, I said it. Meetings can leave you feeling energized!
So, if you want to stand out in leading effective meetings, follow the next three tips!
- What is the purpose of your meeting? Think of a few main points or answers that you want to achieve at the meeting and focus on those only. Anything more than a few points should be reserved for a second meeting.
- Prepare a brief agenda for the meeting so everyone knows the flow. Outline timelines on the agenda to keep conversations on track.
- Consider who is essential to the meeting. There are essential people and convenient people to have. Focus on the first one. You can always send out a brief summary of the meeting to anyone that you think could benefit from the information. The essential people are only those that will be able to help you answer the few points/questions that the meeting will be centered around.
- Consider the amount of time you need. Most meetings can be wrapped up between 15 min to an hour. Be realistic with your expectations but also hold yourself to a strict, as short as possible, timeline. This will force you to keep everyone on track in the meeting.
- If the meeting is over an hour, consider providing water or some healthy snacks. This will help employees stay energized. Alternatively, you could host the meeting outside (if the weather is nice), or at a nearby restaurant or coffee bar.
The person leading the meeting has the biggest effect on the energy and contribution of those in the room. Set the right tone and keep the energy flowing by doing the following;
- Start on time - even if not everyone is there yet.
- Ask everyone to put away their phones/laptops. Everyone needs to focus all their energy on the tasks at hand. This will also ensure that the meeting is quick and the energy of participates remains high.
- During the meeting make sure you stick to your agenda.
- Be concise and clear. Don’t get distracted by any side conversations that may pop up. When they do, bring those people back to the agenda.
- Be energized and focused so that it encourages others to do the same.
Many times, when people leave meetings, they take different things away then everyone else either because each person’s perception is a little different or perhaps they were distracted or lost focus. To ensure that everyone leaves with the same message and action points, if any, follow these tips;
- Ask for questions. Give everyone a chance to clear up anything that they might be uncertain of.
- Summarize the main points discussed.
- Assign any unfinished business to appropriate people.
- Send a quick follow-up email to attendee’s regarding what was discussed and any open items. This will ensure that everyone left the meeting on the same page and that nothing is left out.
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