We’ve already seen that the first and most important rule for any calendar meeting is to have an agenda. To round off the list, here’s ten tips for running an effective meeting.
- Agenda. Agenda. Agenda. Does this require any explanation?
- Prepare! If you are a meeting owner, it’s vital to prepare for each meeting beforehand. What materials do you need? What reports do you want to show? Set up your screen connection before everyone arrives! The more prepared you are the more efficient your meetings will be.
- Review the agenda at the start of each meeting. First of all, it reinforces the concept of always having an agenda. Second of all it puts everyone in the room into the proper mindset for the meeting and helps them focus on the task at hand.
- Set expectations. Are you going to talk and then let everyone ask questions? Do you want questions throughout the meeting? You can say things like, “Please close all laptops and iPads for now, as there will be plenty of time for taking notes later.”
- Start on time! No excuses. If you’ve scheduled a start time in the calendar, starting late sets a poor example and can set a less serious tone for the meeting itself.
- Invite the right people. Duh! This isn’t a movie set, so there’s no need for “extras”. Only invite people who really need to be in attendance and not those who simply like to have meetings peppered throughout their calendar.
- Start positive, stay positive, and finish positive. Nothing kills the mood of a meeting more than negative thoughts and comments. It’s ok to be constructively critical but not negative.
- Focus! Another benefit to an agenda is it enables you to cut off side discussions fairly quickly. “I don’t think that issue is on the agenda for today. Let’s bring it up in the relevant forum”
- Encourage participation. Some people are naturally more quiet or like to take in their surroundings. Make sure to encourage everyone to get involved and contribute.
- Summary and action items: All productive meetings start with an agenda and end with decisions making and action items. If everyone walks out and everything which was discussed is immediately forgotten and or neglected you’ve just wasted everyone’s time.
- Bonus Tip: Follow-up! Action Items are only as good as the attention they receive following the meeting. As the meeting owner it’s your job to follow up with people and ensure the work is progressing as planned.
There you have it. Ten simple steps to make sure the meetings in your calendar are running smoothly and efficiently.