Are you a fan of meetings? Many people are not. Many times meetings are perceived as cold, impersonal and pointless. In our time-crunched world, no one wants to waste their time sitting in meetings. But did you know that you can have effective meetings? Here are the essentials to keep in mind:
PURPOSE: Why are you calling the meeting? If you don’t have a goal in mind, cancel the meeting. Your attendees will thank you for it.
AGENDA: Create an agenda and if possible, get it attendees ahead of time. This will help them know what will be discussed, come prepared with information and ideas and allow for focused discussions. Keep your agenda concise so that you stay within your allotted time.
COME PREPARED: What supplies will you need? Computer? Projector? Wi-fi access?Dry erase markers? Make sure that any audio/visual equipment is working properly. Have extra copies of your agenda, writing paper and pens on hand.
APPOINT A RECORDER: You can jot down notes here and there, but appoint someone else to record the notes. This will allow you to focus on what is being said and keep the group on track.
BRING A CREATIVE ELEMENT TO YOUR MEETING: Are you holding a brainstorming meeting? Cover the table with paper and provide markers or crayons for attendees to doodle or jot down ideas. Do you want your attendees to “think outside of the box”? Provide a tactile object such as play dough or an Etch-A-Sketch(C) to channel creativity.
HONOR THEIR TIME: Nothing turns a meeting attendee into a meeting skipper more than starting late or holding them longer than they expected. Honor people by beginning and ending on time. Ending five or ten minutes earlier than expected is even better.
SUMMARIZE WHAT’S BEEN DISCUSSED: Review action points and what you need to follow-up on. Make sure that everyone leaves knowing what has been accomplished and what they are responsible for. If you plan a follow-up meeting, this information should be first on the agenda before tackling new tasks.
What would you add to the list?