Running Successful Meetings – The Key Steps to Getting It Right
We all complain about meetings which are a waste of our time and the truth of the matter is that so many are exactly those. We’ve also seen the “corridor” meeting that takes place afterwards where it seems the real decisions are taken, or the agreed decisions are overturned.
You’ll get your chance at some point in your career to run your own meeting – is yours going to go the same way? or will you make sure it’s effective and does the job it is supposed to?
Well run meetings contribute to team building and high morale; badly run meetings are at best a waste of everyone’s time and at worst potentially damaging to relationships and the business as a whole.
Here’s how you can get it right:
All successful meetings depend upon a number of interdependent factors and if you approach each one methodically you’ll find that your meetings are the ones that get action. And you get the credit.
• Structure & control
• Records & action
• What is the meeting intended to achieve?
• What will the meeting actually achieve?
• What happens if you don’t hold the meeting
• Who needs to attend and why?
• Is there a more effective way of communicating?
• Prepare and circulate an agenda in advance;
• Invite agenda items before the meeting;
• Arrange agenda logically;
• Consider the important – v – the urgent issue;
• Arrange the timings and set limits;
• Clarify objectives for each item.
• Tell those involved what’s expected of them;
• Tell everyone time, date location etc;
• Circulate any required pre-reading or information.
Structure & Control
• Discuss each item in turn;
• Seek contributions but keep people to the point;
• avoid going over old ground;
• Be aware of the needs of the group;
• Prevent splinter discussion groups;
• Summarize often to bring back to the point;
• Commend contributions;
• Confirm any conclusions;
• Stress actions and who takes it.
Records & Action
• Record discussions, actions and responsibilities;
• Produce clear simple minutes immediately.
There are a number of points to learn about the effective handling of meetings:
• Invite the right people;
• Set an agenda that’s do-able;
• Control timings and people;
• Encourage members to listen to each other;
• Note actions;
• Review and record
So if you want to avoid the “let’s all turn up and see what happens” approach it just means you need to take the time to think through to what you really want and need to achieve, and then get on with it. People will thank you for not wasting their, or your, time.