Top 10 tips for running a great meeting
Any meeting you conduct at work is a reflection of you. What kind of image are you portraying? Professional, on-target, and efficient? Or unprepared, unproductive, and ineffective?
Unfortunately, few people receive formal training on how to conduct a great meeting, and this lack of training is apparent in corporate conference rooms across the country. Between meetings that ramble on with no agenda and no action steps to participants feeling bored and questioning why the meeting is even taking place, it’s no wonder that so many people dread going to meetings.
In order to conduct a meeting that boosts your credibility and helps you achieve the company’s goals, keep these top 10 meeting tips in mind.
1. Know if you really need a formal meeting at all
Before sending the meeting invites, define why you’re having the meeting. Is it really necessary? Is there another way to accomplish the result? If you have a small department or group of attendees, perhaps a “stand up” meeting will suffice. In this case, you simply get everyone to gather in the hall, say what they need to know, and then everyone disbands within five minutes. It’s a quick, painless, and highly effective way to get a message out.
2. Set expectations prior to the meeting
If a meeting is indeed necessary, create the agenda and send it out prior to the meeting so people are clear on what’s going to be covered. If multiple topics are on the agenda, include a time allotment for each item. Also list a meeting adjournment time…and stick with it. The more detailed you are, the more professional you look.
3. Facilitate well during the meeting
The facilitator’s job is to keep the meeting running smoothly, to make sure everyone gets a say, and to lead people through areas of conflict. Realize that no meeting “runs itself.” You need to lead people through each segment of the agenda and work for a resolution to each area of discussion.
4. Beware of Parkinson’s Law
As you facilitate, keep Parkinson’s Law in mind: “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” The same is true for meetings. If you’ve set an hour for the meeting, chances are the meeting will drag on to fill that time slot. To keep this from happening, announce at the onset, “If we get through this agenda before the adjournment time, we all get to leave early.” Make that the goal, not the posted adjournment time.