Conducting effective meetings or even understanding how to hold a meeting can be daunting, even for the most practiced meeting leader. What makes a successful meeting is determined not by perfect attendance or a successful meeting message at the end but rather when an effective meeting agenda goals are met and work can move forward. According to the Harvard Business Review Running Effective Meetings, it is critical to “Always set an agenda out ahead of time – and be clear about the purpose of the meeting.” Successful meetings are more productive when the leader follows meeting norms and protocols and the attendees know the discussion topics and come prepared to participate. Here we discuss some ground rules for effective meetings guidelines that can prevent the group from being sidetracked and reduce time wasted spent on disruptions or an overly dominant participant.
What Makes a Meeting Effective or Successful?
A successful meeting will feature a simple meeting agenda that follows the stages of meeting process – sticking to a predetermined meeting guidelines template. The success of your meetings will center on your preparation and strategies for leading effective meetings. Here are the stages involved in how to run a business meeting that ends with success:
- Preparation – Start with clearly defined goals, participants, and start/end times
- Documentation – Designate a note-taker and use a staff meeting agenda template
- Productive – follow your agenda, stay focused, and end the meeting on time
- Follow-up – Distribute minutes and communicate action items and responsible persons
When you follow and establish basic meeting procedures, including items such as no cell phone calls during meetings, it will then be understood that not only is attendance expected, but also full participation.
Components of an Effective Meeting
There are many types of meeting strategies and agendas including staff meetings, team meetings, or board of directors meetings. When trying to understand the best way in how to conduct a formal meeting or team meeting, you should follow either a formal meeting procedures template or a specific team meeting agenda template – depending on what group will be meeting. Also, consider the meeting norms and protocols for formal meetings vs informal meetings. While informal meetings take less planning and are less involved, these team-oriented brainstorming sessions can lead to significant changes that impact business operations and/or customer services.
What are the steps to conduct a meeting depends on the type of meeting you are planning, the steps in planning a meeting should address the following 6 components of an effective meeting:
- Firm time limits for starting and ending a meeting
- A pre-planned meeting agenda that is distributed to everyone
- The purpose of the meeting which should be stated at the start
- Meeting leadership that maintains firm control over the discussion
- A meeting notes taker and the distribution of meeting minutes
- Clearly defined follow-up actions and responsible persons
Another component of successful meetings is the preparation of handouts to assist the discussion and to add further clarification to the topics that will be discussed. Do not assume everyone will bring paper and pens for taking notes, so having these supplies on-hand will keep the meeting organized and productive.
Tools to Help Lead an Effective Meeting
You will find much information on how to conduct a meeting step by step on the internet, along with many references to effective meetings book such as How to Run a Meeting Robert’s Rules. These meeting rules were written In the late 1800s, but a more efficient way to cover the steps in conducting a meeting and rules of order can be found today in technology tools that assist in the preparation and collaboration of meetings with direction such as how to run a meeting template and automated messaging and meeting recaps.
Read the successful how to run a meeting book titled How To Run A Meeting Like A Boss or search for Running a Meeting For Dummies for ways to take control and stay in control of your staff meetings. Both of these books will help guide you on how to run a business meeting or how to run a committee meeting. There are also other tools you can find when searching for conducting effective meetings PDF, conducting effective meetings PPT, effective meetings PDF, effective meetings PPT, how to conduct a meeting PDF, effective meeting strategies PDF, and how to conduct a meeting step by step PDF.
Other creative tools and ideas that can help business leaders run an efficient meeting include:
- start with best meeting agenda template
- use a successful meetings media kit
- hang a meeting norms poster
- print successful meeting quotes
- create meeting ground rules funny
- post-meeting ground rules images
Meeting Agenda Software – A tool like Docket can provide businesses with pre-formatted templates and customizable meeting agendas to quickly create formats and agendas for staff meetings, business meetings, stockholder meetings, sales meetings, non-profit meetings, and more. Not only do you save time when you use meeting agenda software such as Docket, but your meetings will also run more smoothly and you can save time once you establish the best process that works for you.
Meeting Minutes Templates – Can help you cover all the stages of the meeting process. A meeting minutes template will make it easier to take consistent notes and can merge the messaging to all attendees.
Automated Meeting Messaging – Choose a meeting platform like Docket that includes messaging tools to help automate the sending out of meeting announcements, meeting recaps, action item reminders, and persons responsible for completing those items as decided upon during the meeting.
Meeting Collaboration Tools – Some meetings and agenda apps will integrate with Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook for a seamless process, from instant messaging to video conferencing, meeting collaboration tools allow you to share information with meeting attendees.
Meetings can be more efficient and more effective with the right tools that are specifically built to streamline meeting preparation and boost meeting productivity. For instance, some platforms allow the meeting leaders to get read receipts that inform you when attendees have read the message for an upcoming meeting. This way, meeting leaders can understand who may or may not be prepared for an important meeting.
Docket provides advanced meeting agenda software that is easy to prepare and customize. It allows you to plan a productive meeting, keeps discussions focused, and allows you to visualize the time frame of each topic to be covered. Whether you’re more interested in documenting and distributing good meeting notes or prepping and organizing meeting materials for all attendees, the best meeting agenda platforms can be a way to improve your meeting process and make your meetings more efficient.