An ineffective meeting is robbing every business of its valuable resources, time and people. A well-managed meeting requires planning and good people skills.
The first condition for a meeting to be successful is its importance. If you have daily team-meetings scheduled, make them into ten-minute briefings at the beginning of each day and go back to your regular activities. Try to give at least a couple of days’ notice to all the participants so they can organize their schedule. You do not want anyone to be tense or in a hurry.
You would not schedule a meeting without knowing what you want to discuss. However, creating a clear outline will help you keep it structured. Everyone should be aware of the agenda. If the meeting is scheduled on short-notice, in particular, make sure everyone gets an email with the agenda. This way they will get a chance to have a quick glance at it. Write it out on the meeting-room board.
When choosing who to invite to the meeting, make sure you have only, and all the relevant people for the subject of the discussion. You need everyone present to be equally interested in the subject. This way you will ensure more order, and you won’t waste anyone’s time. If it happens that one of the key people cannot make the time you scheduled, reschedule. An effective meeting is the one where things get done and unless you can ensure this happens, you might as well cancel it altogether.
If you depend on other people to provide data relevant to the meeting, follow up with them for a timely response. Send out the relevant reports and documents to all the participants so they can get ready for the meeting. Handing out this type of material during the meeting would take up too much time. Also, most people would choose to go through it instead of listening or participating. Being experienced, DisplayME solutions, suggest using display boards for important charts and key points. You can also give the participants a brief summary of each point as they come up.
If you are working on finding a solution to a problem start by brainstorming. It will set off people’s creativity. More creativity usually means observing a problem from many different angles which is more likely to help you find a fresh solution. However, do not turn this into a big game, or allow people to feel too relaxed as the meeting might lose its structure.
A meeting room is not much different from a classroom, apart from the fact that your participants usually know how to behave themselves. There will always be those who would prefer it if they were the ones running the meeting, as well as those who hope you do not look directly at them. Encourage everyone to talk. Ask them for their opinions, they might be valuable, just slightly hard to get.
Make sure you respect your time, as well as those of other people. Start on time, try to estimate how long it will take, and try to keep it at that length. If you cannot agree on certain points, move on, so you can get other things from your agenda covered. Return to the point of disagreement later on.
Make sure your meeting has a clear closure. Sum up the points made and create an action plan. The action plan is something that should be dealt with immediately. Do not let it linger, as, without results, there is no effectiveness. Delegate the tasks and set deadlines.