How to Conduct A Meeting
When it comes to getting everyone on the same page, increasing productivity, and achieving great results, meetings can serve as a valuable tool. But they can only help you achieve those goals when you know how to conduct a business meeting with purpose. Otherwise, your ability to hold an informative and inspirational meeting could fall flat.
Thankfully, it’s possible to learn how to conduct a meeting that supports your work goals and inspires everyone to achieve greatness. As you discover the best methods on how to conduct an effective meeting, you will undoubtedly start to see the results you seek, making it well worth the time and effort to learn this important skill.
So, what are the guidelines for conducting effective meetings? And where are you supposed to learn how to make meetings more effective? From this guide, of course. As you browse through this helpful article, you’re sure to learn how to plan and hold work meetings that inspire fantastic results every time. Here’s what you need to know.
Steps to Organize a Meeting
Effective meetings don’t just come together spontaneously. You must follow these steps to organize a meeting that opens the doors to achieving your desired results.
Define Your Meeting Purpose and Goals
Planning and conducting meetings that achieve great results starts with a clear purpose. Ask yourself why this meeting is necessary and what you intend to gain from it.
Do you want to get everyone on the same page about an upcoming project? Do you hope to inspire your team to increase their efforts in certain areas? Are you worried about hitting a deadline and want to brainstorm ways to speed up the work?
Once you pin down why you’re intent on holding a meeting, define your goals as well. Think about what you want each person in the meeting to achieve and create a clear purpose for their participation.
Set the Time, Place, and Location
Once you have a purpose and goals in hand, you can figure out how long the meeting should last. Be reasonable about how long it will take to go over all the information and receive feedback from your team. But resist the urge to fill the time with busy work that prevents your stakeholders from moving on with their tasks for the day.
After that, figure out where you will hold your meeting and at what time. Think about the benefits of having an in-person meeting versus a remote call, and then choose your conference room or digital platform for that event. To pinpoint the best time, consider the ideal workflow of everyone who will be in attendance and try to find a good compromise that won’t disrupt the day too much.
Create a Guest List and Send Out Invites
Reflect on your meeting purpose and goals to create your guest list next. You’ll want to bring in all the key stakeholders on the project or other focus in question. If you have multiple teams on the project, you might want to limit the guest list to the supervisors and other leads. They can then relay the most important information to the rest of the group after the meeting concludes.
Once you have your guest list pinned down, send out the invites as soon as possible. Unless it’s absolutely unavoidable, you want to give your guests at least a few days’ notice about the meeting so that they can put it on their schedule. If you need to have repeat meetings to follow the project through completion, schedule them for the same day and time each week and let the guests know about the recurring engagement.
Build Out an Agenda with Discussion Topics
Using your meeting purpose and goals, build on a clear agenda with blocks of time for every discussion topic. By defining how you will spend your time together, you can cover all the key topics and allow for enough time for any discussions that arise.
And if any discussions run over the allotted time, you can keep the meeting moving forward while noting topics that need more attention in the future. Over time, you may use those notes to guide the creation of agendas for future meetings to better achieve all your goals.
Share the Agenda with All Key Stakeholders
Simply writing down the agenda and keeping it close during the meeting is not enough. You must share it with all your guests and stakeholders to keep everyone on the same page. So, send over the agenda well ahead of the meeting to give everyone time to review it.
If they have anything to address regarding any of the topics, they can jot down notes and add their feedback as the meeting rolls along. People who cannot attend the meeting can use the agenda to better understand what they missed and need to follow up on in the coming days. When you use these steps in planning a meeting, you have a better chance of achieving all your goals without wasting any time.
How to Conduct a Meeting Step by Step
Even with careful planning, the chairpersons need to know how to conduct a meeting step by step. A thorough agenda is an excellent tool, but it doesn’t make up for a lack of guidance, after all.
While learning how to chair a discussion, it’s important to know how to set expectations upfront by having a quick word with all the participants. The chairperson should also know how to keep all discussions on the topic with firm reminders and transition between all the designated time blocks.
Part of knowing how to chair a meeting with confidence starts with the ability to take good notes on the fly – or assign that task to another key stakeholder in attendance. Then, with those notes in hand, it’s easier to decide when to take the discussion offline and follow the current flow of conversation or simply move on.
The notes can also serve as a vital tool when it comes time to share a recap of the meeting with the participants. With the agenda and summary in hand, participants can better strive to complete their assigned tasks and help the team achieve their shared goals.
Chairpersons should always have a backup or two on hand in case they cannot attend every meeting. By identifying these individuals ahead of time, they can guide them through every step of the process. They will have to think back to chairing a meeting for the first time to cover all the key areas their backups need to know. They can then go over the meeting protocol guidelines in real-time to get everyone on the same page.
Meeting Procedure Guidelines
When you use formal meeting procedures, it’s easier than ever to stay on task and achieve your goals. The formal meeting procedure guidelines also help backup chairpersons lead successful meetings in the future.
For most, you can follow basic meeting procedures, like:
- A warm welcoming to greet all the guests and let them know the meeting is starting
- An overview of the purpose and goals of the meeting with reference to the agenda
- The primary discussion of all the topics listed in the agenda without deviating from the schedule
- Summary of the action items and next steps that each meeting participant will need to address
Depending on the meeting’s purpose, you may also want to take a few moments to review the last meeting’s agenda. During that time, you can have your guests share their progress and achievements of the prior goals. You might also want to let new guests present their business or ask questions as needed to clear up misunderstandings.
By following a well-defined list of meeting procedures and protocols, every formal meeting will go to plan. You can even create a meeting guidelines template to use as a part of your normal processes. Over time, your meeting procedures will become a central part of the organization’s culture, helping make each one a success.
Effective Meeting Strategies
Now that you know how to conduct a meeting from beginning to end, you can employ effective meeting strategies. You may need to try out different strategies to find the ones that best support your efforts and benefit your organization.
One key strategy to try is the creation of an informative agenda for every meeting you’ll hold. By sharing that document with your team, you can set expectations and keep everyone informed about the key goals.
Another strategy is to create precise time blocks for each of the discussion topics on the agenda. With that move, you can minimize side conversations and stay on subject from start to finish. You can then better address every aspect of the topic at hand, so no one gets lost or overrun.
You might also want to perform effective meetings training sessions with all your key stakeholders and backup chairpersons. By doing so, you can excuse yourself from the meetings as needed without compromising the discussions’ quality.
As you dream up new strategies and effective meeting guidelines, don’t forget to let technology do the heavy lifting. With Docket on your side, you get a central hub for all your meetings to build agendas, take notes, and so much more. You can even create an archive of past meetings that serves as a historical record of your organization’s projects, goals, and successes.