How many of you have attended a meeting and left more confused than before it actually started? Organising and leading effective meetings requires a specific set of skills and this is what we are going to look at today!
Be aware of the reasons for calling the meeting
Write down your reasons for this meeting. Put them away for a short while, then review the reason an hour later; if you still feel comfortable with them, send out the invitations for the meeting to take place. This will help keep things organised during the meeting itself, especially at the beginning when you lay out the agenda.
2. Choose someone you trust to take the minutes of the meeting
Minute taking is a highly important aspect when it comes to meetings. The meeting minutes are the permanent record of what was agreed to and decided on during the meeting itself. Once the meeting is over, take the minutes and circulate them among the attendees.
3. Start on time, and end early (if possible)
There are various ways by which time can be wasted during a meeting. These include discussions among colleagues, making tea or coffee, technology etc. Make sure that everything is done and set up so that when it is time to start the meeting there are no glitches.
This would then enable you to go through your agenda in a timely manner and even finish a few minutes ahead of schedule allowing time for Q&A or informal discussion as the attendees are walking out. Keep in mind that people don't complain about meetings ending early, but they do complain about meetings that drag on without any hope of resolution.
4. Maintain Focus
This is always a challenge. It is very easy for meeting participants, especially if they know each other but even if they don't, to go off at a tangent and shift the focus of the meeting (often without wanting to). Do not let this happen to your meeting. Stop tangents as they form. Cut off speakers who want to ramble on about related but unimportant issues.