Effective meetings require careful planning, facilitation, and follow-up to achieve their intended outcomes. In this article, we will explore the best practices for conducting effective meetings that engage participants, and drive actions.
Before the Meeting
1. Define the purpose:
Before scheduling a meeting, identify the specific objectives you hope to accomplish. Is it to make a decision, share information, or solve a problem? Once you have a clear objective, you can plan your agenda, invite the right people, and allocate the appropriate amount of time.
2. Invite the right people
When inviting attendees, be selective about who you invite to ensure the meeting is focused. Consider who can contribute meaningfully to the meeting's objectives. With fewer attendees, you'll have more time for discussion and decision-making.
3. Create an agenda
An agenda outlines the topics to be discussed and includes any relevant background information or pre-reading that the attendees may need. Sharing the agenda with participants ahead of time allows them contribute to the agenda in advance and come prepared with information and questions. Plus, it helps everyone stay on track and focused during the meeting.
During the Meeting
4. Manage time effectively
To ensure that the meeting stays on track, the facilitator should start and end the meeting on time, allocate time for each agenda item, and monitor the time spent on each topic. It's important to stay focused on the meeting's purpose and agenda. Avoid getting sidetracked by other topics or conversations. If a topic arises that is not on the agenda, table it for another meeting or address it briefly and move on. By sticking to the schedule, the facilitator can ensure that all the important topics are covered, and the meeting is concluded in a timely manner.
5. Encourage participation
Encouraging team contribution is essential for conducting productive meetings. Create a supportive environment that encourages team members to participate and share their thoughts and ideas. To foster collaboration, ask open-ended questions, actively listen to the responses, and acknowledge and build on the team's ideas.
6. Take notes and assign action items
Taking notes and assigning action items is crucial for ensuring that the meeting's outcomes are followed through. Taking notes during the meeting helps to capture important information and decisions. Assigning action items to specific people with a deadline for completion will ensure that everyone is held accountable for next steps.
End of the Meeting
7. Follow up
At the end of the meeting provide a summary of the meeting's decisions, outcomes and any action items. This helps to reinforce the decisions made during the meeting and keeps everyone on the same page.
8. Ask for feedback
After the meeting, ask for feedback from the attendees about what worked well and what could be improved. This feedback can be used to improve future meetings and ensure that the team's needs are being met.
In conclusion, with the right preparation, facilitation, and follow-up, you can run meetings that are more efficient, engaging and collaborative. Check out The Fellow Blog for more tips on specific types of meetings, such as one-on-one meetings or stand-ups.