Facilitation · General · Performance

Effective Meetings

To Meet or Not to Meet

Meetings sometimes get a bad rap, but an effectively planned and executed meeting can be a critical cog in making your business, project or initiative a success.

These days meetings are not only face to face there are nuances for online meetings as well.  There are some key elements that impact how meeting participants are going to feel about their experience with the meeting.  Typical areas that impact a meeting are:

  • Clear purpose and intent for meeting
  • Preparation level
  • Does the frequency and approach match the requirements and culture of the group (e.g. daily update meeting vs board meeting)
  • Do the meetings run on time and provide reasonable contribution opportunities
  • How is conflict handled
  • Does it create a clear sense of accomplishment

There are tips that are relevant to specific types of meeting but regardless of the format here are some helpful tips for meeting leaders and participants.

Tips for meeting leaders

  • Set an agenda well in advance be clear on the need and purpose of the meeting
  • Ensure proper membership and participation
  • Don’t assume clarify roles and expectations ensure proper recording of decisions and information
  • Check the environment to make sure its supports the meeting rather than becomes a distraction
  • Encourage participation use a variety of techniques to solicit ideas or input
  • Start and end on time and stay on track, don’t let conversations stray unnecessarily
  • Use consensus building where appropriate and don’t let conflict go unresolved
  • Take time to check for understanding and be clear on tasks or next steps

Tips for meeting participants

  • Arrive on time and ensure you have completed any pre-work requested of you
  • Clarify guidelines or expectations about your participation in the meeting as appropriate
  • Take part in the meeting, express your ideas appropriately and with sufficient time
  • Don’t participate in side conversations that distract from the current speaker
  • Monitor reaction of others and react to verbal and non-verbal cures, seek clarity as needed
  • Don’t make assumptions, avoid jargon and other poor communication patterns
  • Make a record  of actions you have to take or you might be impacted by
  • Provide evaluation feedback on your meeting

Additional online resources

EffectiveMeetings.com is a site created by SMART Technologies.  It has a nice simple layout with some very practical tips. Take a look to get some quick easy to apply advice.

Here’s a resource the blends a couple of my favourite things, this article is called Seven Habits of Highly Effective Meetings from the site projectmanagementhacks,com

Need a facilitator for meeting workshop

If you need something a little more customized or someone to conduct training for your staff or stakeholders I have a full curriculum that goes into detail on all of the elements highlighted above.

Use the contact form below to reach me.

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