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Effective Meeting Strategies
With employees sitting in meetings an average of 62 times per month, it is no wonder we are constantly striving to find effective meeting strategies. While we can search the internet to the ends of the Earth for meeting best practices and how to conduct a meeting step by step, conducting effective meetings takes practice, discipline, and even teamwork. While this may sound daunting and impossible, what is important is understanding where the triggers are that foster bad meeting habits along with building your own strategies for leading effective meetings so that you not only know how to lead a meeting well but also have a system for your guests to follow that naturally develops into good meeting habits. To do this, we should break down the various stages of a meeting.
BEFORE THE MEETING
The time leading up to a meeting can be most critical in setting the meeting in the right direction to help you in leading a meeting with confidence. Conducting effective meetings starts with the pre-meeting basics.
Set A Meeting Goal
Leading great meetings starts with understanding the purpose of the meeting. While communication and team networking are always a great reason to meet, meetings can be expensive so it is critical that the meeting has a specific, attainable goal. The goal should be so specific that those attending understand whether they belong in the meeting and what topics they need to prepare for.
Invite The Right People
And because meetings are so expensive, conducting effective meetings means making sure the right people are in attendance. It is easy to over-invite to ensure the right people are in the room but by taking a few minutes early on to find out who is best to attend, you not only save the time of those who do not need to attend but, according to organizational behavioral research, you will most likely find solutions faster with less people and a more focused meeting due to the fact having more than 8 participants in any situation can erode and stifle conversation and progress.
Leading a meeting techniques typically put more emphasis on what the meeting organizer or leader can do, however, collaborating with other guests prior to a meeting not only takes the pressure off of an organizer who may not be the subject matter expert but can also help create more buy-in and engagement from the attendees. Seek topics and the questions that need to be answered in advance of a meeting to help in contributing to leading a productive meeting.
Create An Agenda
Knowing how to lead a meeting effectively also includes helping meeting guests know what is coming. No matter how closely teams work together, no one can ever truly understand every individual’s to do list so giving someone an understanding of what is needed will help them organize their work and prioritize in the way they know best. Build an agenda with the meeting goal and topics to create the structure for the brief time you and your guests will be together.
Topics for team meetings at work, an organizational meeting, or any other list of topics shared collaboratively may be more than can be discussed within a brief amount of time. Carefully review the items and consider things like:
- What topics are of greatest priority to our goals?
- Are any topics related that may help us focus on a theme to prevent context switching?
- Do we have the right people for these topics?
Poll your guests to help you prioritize the list to ensure the time is used wisely. What you believe may be a priority may not be the case for others, even if you are the business leader. By asking the team to help prioritize, you can also get some useful feedback and set expectations if priorities do not align.
Effective team meetings, business meetings, and any other type of meetings are most effective when an agenda has been shared in advance. This is another opportunity for guests to prepare and have a quick tool to know how to be ready to use this time. Another benefit can be when an agenda exposes questions that can be answered outside of the meeting, saving time in the meeting for topics that require discussion.
DURING THE MEETING
As one can see, before the meeting has quite a bit of steps to consider setting the meeting on the right path before it even starts! Meeting procedure guidelines for successful staff meetings, business meetings, and organizational meetings can vary but there are a common list of effective meeting guidelines on how to lead a meeting that will set the meeting towards a successful start.
One does not have to be an expert on how to conduct a meeting when it comes to setting expectations for the meeting. Never assume everyone has read or contributed to the agenda. And even if they had, they may have been thinking about 10 other tasks, the previous meeting, or the concert they are headed to after work. At the beginning of the meeting, briefly review the agenda topics to give guests a chance to settle in and prepare their minds for the topics at hand.
Want to know how to have a great staff meeting? Collaborate! The definition of collaboration is “the action of working with someone to produce or create something.” So why not start with meeting notes? Collaborating in meeting notes enables the team the freedom to document what they heard in the way they understand it. If everyone is contributing, it frees up the group to participate in the conversation rather than be committed as a scribe. And if it requires a subject matter expert, the SME is more likely to document the solution or next steps with greater accuracy. Make sure your meeting tool, like Docket, shows attribution so you can easily gain context on who added the meeting notes.
Stay On Topic
When learning what are the steps to conduct a meeting or how to conduct a formal meeting, staying on topic is a key step. It is critical to keep everyone on topic by following the agenda. Unless an unforeseen emergency came up between the time the agenda was created and when the meeting started, any new topics should be taken down for some planning and scheduling of its own. This ensures the planned work gets done in one meeting and the next batch of work has the right focus and attention as well.
When considering team meeting ideas, making sure tasks and actions are assigned during the meeting while everyone is present creates transparency and accountability. Agree on a reasonable timeline and make it owned and actionable.
Save Time to Review
Prevent the tragedy of walking out of the room without understanding what happens next. One of the greatest leadership meeting ideas is to take a few minutes at the end of a meeting to recap the top points, confirm the agreed actions and timeline, and ensure everyone walks away aligned and motivated to keep moving forward.
AFTER THE MEETING
It isn’t finished yet! We may put in a lot to prepare and run the meeting but if we walk away assuming what we discussed will magically happen, we will usually be disappointed. Follow these steps to make sure the effort is not wasted.
Share a Recap
Whether you share the entire meeting transcription or notes or key takeaways, make sure to share the meeting output with meeting guests and others who should be in the know. This creates alignment as well as reminders for those that have tasks ahead of them.
Own Your Tasks
Don’t wait for someone to ask you for a status. Try to resolve tasks as quickly as possible and proactively update those from the meeting for awareness.
Be Ready For The Next
Put your own take on effective meeting strategies and create your own meeting guidelines template, how to run a meeting template, effective meetings pdf, effective meetings guidelines ppt., or how to run a meeting book if you are feeling like an expert now! Share with others and watch the positive influence you see on others as they too learn to conduct effective meetings!