Ø Do you groan when certain managers in your office call a meeting?
Ø Do you feel too much of your valuable time is wasted in meetings?
Ø Do you count the minutes and daydream about being on a tropical isle far away from the meeting room?
If the answer to any of the above questions is yes…then you need to read on……
Here are important guidelines for running effective meetings:
1. Always start on time: If you begin your meetings late, people will arrive later and later. If they do not expect you will be punctual, why should they.
2. Always end on time: Try planning your agenda from the end time in order to ensure that you will be finished when promised.
3. Choose a convenient venue and time. If these two elements are not well chosen it could impact on your attendance. This could affect outcomes.
4. Set your agenda ahead and send it out to attendees. Include timing, decisions, & actions. Do not make it too ambitious. Prepare outcome action plans.
5. Put the “hottest” items on first. People are freshest at the beginning, better able to deal with the meatier issues.
6. Assign a “time-keeper” to help keep the meeting on schedule. Reminders help to maintain focus.
7. Assign different roles to attendees. When people have a “job” they will tend to be more engaged…but the role must be clearly delineated and timed, as well as related to areas of expertise & responsibilities.
8. Stick to the agenda. Be respectful but assertive to keep the agenda moving as planned. Control the discussion. Have a plan for conflict resolution if necessary. Have a plan for contentious issues and how best to deal with them.
9. End with unity. Try to choose a positive item at the end of the agenda.
10. Chair is the key! If the chair is not organized, in control and knowledgeable, it will be most difficult to have results-oriented outcomes.
When members of a company or organization gather at a meeting their purpose is:
Ø to conduct business
Ø collect information
Ø discuss issues
Ø make decisions as to how these issues will be resolved or addressed
Methods used to conduct these meetings will depend on the size of the group involved in the gathering. Careful planning and preparation are essential to conducting effective meetings.
Remember……Running a meeting is like cooking a meal- if the basic ingredients are poor, or one or two are missing, the result will never be what you wanted!