Run Effective Meetings 100% of the Time
Do you dread running a meeting because it seems like no one is paying any attention? Do your meetings seem to drag on for forever and even you get tired of being there, despite the free food that the company provided for you? Your meetings don’t have to be this way! Most of the attention to a meeting goes to how you present your information, but without the proper setup, no one will hear what you say! You can run effective meetings 100% of the time when you follow some of these basic protocols that should occur before a meeting.
Here’s how you can accomplish your goal of having an effective meeting:
E-mail your agenda out to meeting participants 24 hours before the meeting. The key to having an effective meeting is to allow people to come up with questions they may have on your materials. If there is something that someone doesn’t understand in your materials, they can talk to you about the questions they have in a more concise manner. This expedites the entire communications process!
Arrive at least 5 minutes early. One of the biggest reasons a meeting turns out to be a failure is because the meeting wasn’t properly set up in the first place. Make sure you’ve given yourself enough time to start any equipment you need, put materials in front of seats, and prepare the room in other ways that you may need so that your meeting can start on time. Without this good first impression, many people will simply write off your entire presentation.
Manage side conversations in a professional way. Sometimes a side conversation is going on because someone doesn’t understand what you’ve said, but they don’t want to bother the entire presentation with their question. At other times, the smartphone is out, people are talking about Joe’s recent Facebook post, and the side conversation is a distraction from what you’re trying to share. Not every side conversation needs to be stopped, but ones that can cause a distraction must be confronted immediately for the good of the entire meeting.
Don’t challenge the person. Challenge the idea! Many people don’t just arrive at an opinion automatically. They use their experiences and perspectives, along with their own research, to develop what they believe is the best course of action. You can challenge the idea without challenging the person and their work ethic but guiding them to connect their opinion with yours.
The meeting doesn’t end after the meeting ends. Send a follow-up e-mail 24 hours after the meeting concludes to seek out feedback, other questions that people may have, and summarize the meeting for everyone in writing. This way there is a written record of everyone’s attendance, you give people one final chance in a non-threatening way to contribute, and the reminder can help people better retain the information you have given them.
By following these tips, you’ll be able to run an effective meeting 100% of the time. What adjustments could you make today to make sure your meetings can be as effective as you’ve imagined them to be?