Whether you’re running your first meeting or you’ve done it a hundred times, you want everything to be perfect. So what can you do to ensure a brilliantly successful meeting?
All good meetings need structure. Create an agenda and stick to it! Assign roles such as time-keeper or note-taker when appropriate. Articulate your objective at the beginning and outline your expectations for participation.
Don’t let the Meeting Wander
Nothing is worse than a meeting that wanders. Make sure you know what your meeting is meant to achieve and stick to relevant topics. Don’t be tempted to explore tangents and discourage your participants from wandering as well.
Encourage your team to participate. Remember to recognise and evaluate all perspectives. Hold yourself and your team members accountable for their responsibilities and always clearly communicate group values from the beginning.
Don’t be Controlling
The best leaders are the ones who don’t dominate the meeting. Allow other team members to lead the discussion at times. While it’s good to adhere to a defined structure and encourage discipline, don’t take an authoritative tone.
Do Actively Participate
While you shouldn’t dominate the meeting, don’t disappear entirely. Make sure that you are mentally present in the discussion. Actively listen, ask questions and encourage the flow of conversation. Don’t forget to silence your phone, remove any distractions and of course make sure you’re on time for the meeting!
Don’t be Negative
The tone you set is the tone your meeting will have. Foster creativity and use plenty of positive reinforcement. Make sure that any feedback is constructive rather than defensive or judgemental. Don’t forget to praise your team for their hard work! Avoid speaking negatively of anyone, even those who are not present, as meetings may be recorded.
Do Foster Positive Teamwork
Inevitably, your team members will disagree with you and each other. As the leader, it is your job to facilitate progress when this occurs. Don’t allow team members to bully each other and be prepared to deal with disagreements.
Don’t Forget Visuals
Meetings are always better with visuals! Don’t just lecture on your material – prepare and present visuals, videos or handouts to make your topic more approachable. Where possible, use tools such as whiteboards to outline agendas and summarise points.
Do Wrap it up on Time
All good meetings must come to an end. Remember to stick to your agenda and don’t run overtime. Don’t forget to outline any action points and next steps to be taken.
Remember, your team members are people just like you! Create a meeting you would enjoy and you can’t go wrong. With a little preparation, your meeting will be the first of many great successes.
Need some extra help preparing? Use this meeting preparation advice that will help you plan a productive meeting beginning to end.