How many times have you tried to kill time doodling in a meeting? How many times have you wished you were not there in the first place? Have you ever felt you have not been given an adequate chance to voice your views? If yes, you are not alone. Meetings can be unproductive and boring if not handled tactfully. Whatever be the purpose of a meeting, if you are the facilitator, you have the onus to make it useful and productive. If you restrict employees from voicing their views on various issues, good ideas may never be able to come to the forefront. Meetings need not always be boring. It could generate creative and constructive ideas and leave the participants with a sense of achievement.
Here are list of guidelines that could help you lead a successful meeting.
1. Chalk out a suitable plan for the meeting: The prima facie of any meeting is to chalk out a suitable plan. Planning offers you to circumvent within the periphery of the planned agenda. This avoids unnecessary deviation from the main topic – thus saving time. Through proper planning one can accomplish the necessary doable goals. It enlists the meeting focus, agenda and participants.
2. Build an agenda that moves you towards your goal: Think of a framework for the meeting – it includes all the information starting from time, date, location and the sole purpose and nature of the meeting. This forms the agenda for your meeting. Arrange this information in a logical pattern and offer an outline for jotting down the meeting’s summary. The meeting agenda template can be circulated amongst all the participating members so that they have a brief idea on the proceedings.
3. Affix a suitable time: Rendezvous with so many people requires allocation of a realistic time frame. This imparts minimum disruption to all and it also ensures people set their priorities and make time for the scheduled meeting. Try to begin every meeting at its scheduled time so as to avoid the rush at later stage. Ensure that time allotted for each meeting is not too lengthy as it can bring fatigue amongst the participants. Participants should also be aware of the time budgeted for each activity.
4. Necessary review of pre-work prior to the meeting: Meetings can be made productive if you provide all the necessary paraphernalia (brochure, background information etc.) before the scheduled time of the meeting. This enables participants to get mentally prepared about the probable issues that need to be discussed.
5. Ensure active participation by members: Nothing can be accomplished through brutal force upon your participants. It would be more effective to monitor if the participants are truly taking keen interest in meeting and gently solicit participation of each and every member. Complimenting participants with expressions such as – “Thank You”, “Excellent Job”, “Great Idea” so on and so forth will not only motivate them but also ignite a sense of belonging in them.
6. Maintain certain corporate etiquettes: Establish certain guidelines with respect to participant’s behavior. This will enable you to conduct meetings not only effectively but also fairly. Corporate etiquette needs to be maintained which could include the following among other things:
a) Do not make any un-necessary phone calls during the entire duration of the meeting
b) Share your ideas one at a time
c) Don’t interrupt when others are sharing their ideas
d) Allow every participant the equal right to convey their ideas
7. Set expectations: Frame a realistic expectation that can be achieved from a meeting. Proper articulation regarding the expectation is important for the participants.
8. Don’t move off the track: Often meetings get derailed from their usual track. To bring it back on track, revisit the mutual discussion and the shared ideas. Also during the time of decision making process, apply suitable modes to arrive at a conclusion – either by consensus or by voting.
9. Time for action: Devise a strategic follow up plan which entails all the action points. It encompasses the entire gamut of action agenda such as identifying the person responsible for the action, setting deadline etc. A meeting becomes useless if it is devoid of a follow up plan with a proper date affixed to it.
10. Examine and Evaluate: Retrospect at the end of the day how the meeting has taken place. What went well? What else could have been done to improve it? Proper answers to these questions should be collected from the participants. This review reveals the dos and don’ts for the next meeting.
11. Make a habit of debriefing the meeting: Summarize the entire agenda of meeting. Take a note of what goal has been accomplished so far, and what are yet to be achieved.
So, get ready to contemplate on the next meeting and make it a successful one.