To run effective meetings, and get the good reputation that comes along, you need to do some planning and thinking before the meeting. Have you ever got stuck into a meeting that you could not see the end coming? Have you ever got stuck in to a meeting that you wonder why you were invited? If your answer is yes, keep reading.
The 7 steps presented below helps you achieving more effective meetings.
Before the meeting
Preparation is a key element to success.
1. Scope: You set the scope of the meeting. What is the meeting about? Choose a title that represents the purpose of the meeting, like “New office planning”.
2. Time and Location: Instead of having a meeting title like “New Meeting 14:00” or a similar generic description prefer something more specific like “New office planning 14:00 – 15:00” which has a detailed title and also a starting and ending time. You guess it right! The place is missing. You have to state where the meeting is going to take place. “New office planning 14:00 – 15:00, Meeting Room 1 @ Main Building”. The duration of the meeting depends on the agenda of the meeting. If there are many participants allocate 40 or even 60 minutes for the meeting. If there are few participants you can allocate 20 minutes for the meeting. Proper time management is a key element for effective meetings. Needless to say, if the key persons cannot attend you will have to reschedule your meeting.
3. Agenda: You define the contents of the meeting. Write a list of the items that will be discussed during the meeting. This is the agenda of the meeting. Next to each item of the agenda, write the allocated time. You may also include the owner of the particular item and the objective of the discussion.
4. Agenda buy-in: Distribute the agenda by email to all participants of the meeting with a note asking for their feedback and to also add to the list any other item that they think belong to that meeting and send it back to you. Ask them particularly to reply to you and not to all. You do not want to start an email discussion before the meeting. Ask also to receive their reply by a certain date. You may also request their questions regarding specific topics of the discussion. Review the list and distribute it to all participants, latest at the next day of your deadline.
During the meeting
5. Time: Start immediately the meeting with the first topic for discussion. Manage the time and be careful not to overrun the allocated time.
6. Topics: Keep presenting the items for discussion. Ask for comments or questions. If no one has questions then move to the next topic. Give the floor to the owner of the item to present it. Make sure that the presenters stick to the allocated time. Sometimes this may be difficult especially if the presenter is a senior manager or your boss.
Ensure that the meeting stays on topic.
After the meeting
7. Meeting minutes: Send the meeting minutes to all participants. Ask them to add any item that feel that was left out of the meeting minutes. If there are items left uncovered schedule a new meeting.
Are you using these steps for your meeting? What would you add to these steps?