Anyone can hold a meeting, BUT, forming and conducting a productive meeting, is a greater challenge.
Here are some 5 things you can do to run more effective meetings.
1. Plan in advance
Determine the purpose, objective and what format will best support that purpose. What information or other preparation will be needed to meet the objectives. It is important to determine the outcome or objective of the meeting and have a clear purpose.
What would be the most valuable thing we could accomplish with our time? What is the purpose of the meeting? How does this meeting contribute to the organisational goals and objectives?
2. Choose participants carefully
Select those who have a reason to participate. Those attending should have a knowledge or interest in the topic. They must be ready and able to make a valuable contribution. Meetings tend to be more productive when the number of participants is low. In large group meetings, there is less opportunity for individuals to participate and contribute.
Do you have to include everyone, especially those who do not want to positively contribute? Perhaps it could be best to gain their views outside of the meeting, and their permission to share?
3. Determine what roles will be needed
The most critical role is the facilitator, who is responsible to meet the meeting objective, keep it on track and ensure no one person dominates the meeting. Select a facilitator who will make sure the ground rules are followed. Other roles include notetaker, timekeeper, presenters. Everyone in attendance SHOULD have a valid role, or to be blunt - why are they there?
4. Develop meeting guidelines or rules
These can be created once and reused in subsequent meetings. It is helpful to list them on posters or flipcharts that can be referred back to again and again. Some examples are:
No criticism, No one will be interrupted while speaking. For our full list read our article How to establish meeting groundrules
5. Use Visuals
Most people can see what you are presenting better than they can hear it. Doing both will ensure your message gets across. Use flip charts and white boards to set the agenda, brainstorm, or present ideas. It can be easy to get stuck on issues that might be important, but not directly tied to the objective of the meeting. Using a flip chart, list the items as they come up. At the end of the meeting resolve what actions need to taken to deal with them.
If you can answer the questions below then you're more likely to have an effective meeting:
- Does everyone have clarity on why the meeting is being held?
- Can the people in attendance make decisions or get decisions made?
- Is everyone clear on the they will play in the meeting?
- Are attendees aware of your expectations and their responsibilities?
- Is information being presented in an engaging way?