October 1, 2015
Host a Successful Meeting
A well-organized, well-lead meeting can be very productive. Make your next meeting a success by following a few simple tips:
Provide an Agenda in Advance
An agenda will provide the purpose of the meeting, goals, and direction. Avoid over-scheduling the meeting so you can give the topic(s) the attention they deserve. A more succinct, focused meeting will also hold the attention of the attendees better.
Make it a Reverse Meeting
Oftentimes people can be caught off guard when asked for input about information they just received at the start of the meeting. Putting discussion topics to the attendees prior to the meeting will allow them to offer more valuable input and feedback. It can also help make discussions more productive and reduce the need for successive meetings.
Stick to the Agenda
Respect that everyone’s time is valuable. Start the meeting on time even if some people are missing. They will learn to attend on time the next time.
It’s easy for conversations to go in unexpected directions either adding more topics to your agenda or moving it into a more social type gathering. Make notes of what topics were brought up to discuss at another time and circle back to the set agenda.
Keep everyone’s attention by allowing them to participate in the meeting. Avoid allowing the meeting to be dominated by one or two of the more vocal attendees. Scan the room to see if others may be looking to contribute but are having trouble finding the opportunity to do so. Make a point of giving them the chance to contribute but avoid singling anyone out who may not have anything to volunteer.
Close your meeting with a summary of the topics discussed. Reviewing your agenda items can help with this. Itemize actionable items, roles and responsibilities, deadlines, and ideas for the next meeting if necessary.
Within 24 hours of the meeting, provide attendees with minutes of the meeting for future reference. This will help demonstrate the value you have placed in the meeting and topics discussed.
Evan Thompson, Meetings of the Mind, FORUM Magazine, May 2015, page20-21.
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