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8 Ways To Run An Effective Meeting

8 Ways To Run An Effective Meeting

The truth of the matter is that we spend a lot of time attending meetings but  most of the times they are considered to be failures.

This is not at all surprising. We often find ourselves sitting through meetings that go on for too long, are too short or simply time wasting.

Although we could go for other alternatives such as cancelling, rescheduling or resorting to email, the best line of approach is to try and understand where the problem is and work towards fixing it.

Here are eight questions and tips that will help you identify the problem areas and to provide solutions to help you conduct more effective meetings in the workplace.

We spend a lot of time attending meetings but most of the times they are considered to be failures.

  1. Are You Prepared?

Here you need to make sure things such as your materials are ready. Also, do you have a plan for the order of the meeting and how it will go? Have you made arrangements and confirmed the venue?

It is important to set an agenda in order to have an efficiently run meeting.

It is also important to set your goal for the meeting ahead of time. Think about the things you want to achieve at the end of the meeting. This could be a small or big goal.

Ensure that every one that is attending the meeting is aware of this goal. 

This is where you set your desired outcome and it is not the same as the meeting agenda.

The agenda is an outline of what will be discussed during the meeting while the goal is the desired outcome by the end of the meeting. Both of them help to keep the meeting on track when in danger of being derailed. 

  1. Are Other People Prepared?

If there is any information that needs to be provided to those attending the meeting before the date, it is important that this should be organised. 

This includes getting relevant materials to attendees or having them fill out forms where necessary. The earlier this is done, the better. 

You must ensure that everyone is well prepared and have the relevant information needed for the meeting.

This could be a new hire attending a meeting in the company for the first time, or a new member of a team in the company. 

By doing this, you are giving them the ability to make valuable contributions to discussions at the meeting.

Some questions you can ask before the meeting are:

  • Does everyone know why we’re having this meeting?
  • Does everyone know why they specifically were invited to this meeting?
  • Is everyone up-to-date on what we’ll be discussing in this meeting?
  • Does everyone know everyone else in this meeting? If not, what do they need to know?
  • Is there any tension between people that may hinder progress in this meeting?

If you answer NO to any of the above questions, then you need to take time to provide the needed information to the people involved.

  1. Are People Excited?

It is not expected that people will be doing cartwheels rejoicing over the upcoming meeting, however, there should be some level of anticipation among the staff about it.

This is a good time to make them feel that they are part of the company and that they know what is going on when it comes to important issues as well as having the opportunity to ask those vital questions. 

You should also find out whatever concerns the staff have before the meeting so as to get rid of anything that can bring negativity to the meeting.

  1. Are You Addressing The Important Points?

Whether your goal going into the meeting is to solve a problem, answer some questions or brainstorm an idea, your aim should be to achieve the goals by the end of the time set for the meeting.

To achieve this, you need to follow your set agenda as much as possible. It’s good practice to pause every 15 minutes to check that you are still within the agenda and on course.

If you find that you have digressed, then steer the meeting back on course to refocus on the important points you need to cover. 

If any additional issues come up that were not on the agenda, agree to either address this at a later date or resort to other forms of communication such as the email to address those issues.

This way you will not run over time and run the risk of not focusing on the important points or even losing the attention of the attendees. 

At the end of the meeting, you should be able to have come up with actionable items or decisions to be made.

“If you find that you have digressed, then steer the meeting back on course to refocus on the important points you need to cover.” 

5. Are The Attendees (At Least Most Of Them) Paying Attention?

It is a hard task to get everyone’s undivided attention during any meeting. But to run an effective meeting, you must have the attention of most of the attendees.

To make this happen, you should keep things short and simple. Also, make sure the steps are clearly outlined and use easy to follow visuals where necessary.

6. Are People Asking Questions And Getting Answers?

A good way of gauging if a meeting is going well or whether people are paying attention is by questions being asked during the meeting.

While it is important to be getting these questions, it is also equally important to answer them.

The more you push responding to questions to later in the meeting, the more likely it’s not going to be addressed or it could be forgotten.

So you should ensure that you try to cover as many questions as possible as you progress through the meeting.

Also, make sure you check why people are not asking questions so you can address the issue. For example, it could be because you are not carrying them along and they don’t understand what is being discussed.

7. Are More People Speaking Up Or Not Speaking At All?

The ideal scenario is to get more people speaking up and making contributions during the meeting.

This is because meetings are usually called because you want the input and opinions of people.

However, achieving this level of contribution is easier said than done. You might find that some people tend to overpower others in conversations drowning out the voices of others.

The key here is to be an effective discussion leader. Shut down rambling co-workers. Don’t interrupt. Stick up for people who are interrupted. Give those haven’t said much a chance to speak.

8. Are The Right Steps Being Taken After The Meeting?

At the end of the meeting make sure you set out the next steps that need to be taken.

These include:

  • What needs to get done?
  • How does it need to get done?
  • When does it need to get done by?
  • Who’s going to be responsible for doing it?
  • Who’s going to supervise/track the success of it?

This way you will avoid a situation where people leave the meeting and start doing things the way you do not want them to be done.

The ideal scenario is to get more people speaking up and making contributions during the meeting.

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