Top 10 tips for running a great meeting
5. Allow conflict
If the goal of your meeting is to solve a problem, then conflict is inevitable. Welcome it. A good facilitator will recognize when emotions get too high and will step in to keep the meeting on track. But don’t strive to avoid conflict. Nothing gets solved without first having a conflict of ideas.
6. Assign action steps
In a perfect world, people would 100% self-manage. We don’t live in a perfect world. That’s why the meeting leader needs to wrap up the meeting by summarizing the key points and then assigning the action steps. Decide who is going to do what and by when. Also determine how everyone will follow up on the action steps. Who is holding people accountable for doing what needs to get done? The more follow up and accountability you have, the more likely you are to accomplish the stated goals.
7. Delegate the meeting responsibility
Just because you’re a department or company leader doesn’t mean you have to lead every meeting. Delegate some meetings to others so they can gain experience in this critical skill. If you don’t feel comfortable delegating the entire meeting, delegate a part of the meeting that’s focused on a specific topic. Give everyone a turn to develop their meeting prowess.
8. Know when to lead and when to participate
When you do delegate a meeting, or when you’re attending someone else’s meeting, resist the urge to “take over” the meeting. Of course you can be an active participant and state your opinions, but let the other person do their job and have the spotlight as the leader. They may not run the meeting exactly like you would, but it’s their meeting. Let their own leadership style shine.
9. Always let people out early
Remember when you were a kid and the teacher let you out of class a minute or two early? Chances are you liked that teacher and didn’t mind going back to his or her class. Adults are the same way. The minute you start going over the stated adjournment time, people disengage and tune out. Instead, let them out a few minutes early. If you’ve followed all the other points mentioned thus far, an early adjournment should be possible. If your meeting topic still has loose ends, address those key items with the needed parties privately. Keeping everyone in the meeting to address final points that don’t pertain to the group as a whole leaves people frustrated and bored—not the kind of last impression you want.