Skip to main content

Tips for Managing Effective Meetings


Every meeting should follow a structure if you want it to be effective, but more importantly you want everybody at the meeting to want to be there, and to be able to see the value, otherwise it is just more words that take time out of your day.

The following "W" questions are a guideline:
  1. Why are we having this meeting?
  2. Who needs to be at it to be effective?
  3. What steps are being taken to ensure that the jobs of the people at the meeting are being handled?
  4. Where is it going to take place for maximum efficiency (Video Conference or Skype instead of travel)
  5. When will it have the least impact on productivity?
  6. Will there be an action plan with deadlines at the end?
  7. What positive feedback can we share that will create the right environment for positive engagement?
While a formal agenda is not necessary for every meeting, our BCX strategist, Paddy Gray, taught me a valuable meeting lesson and that is to start your meeting by querying what each attendee hopes to achieve by being there.    And end the meeting by confirming that the objectives were achieved.   It not only focuses everybody at the start, but ensures that there is a way forward.

When the meeting is external, or new people are there, do start with introductions, and the reasons for their attendance.  If somebody is late, acknowledge their presence, and ensure that they are briefly brought up to date.  (Not more than 30 seconds unless they are the key attendee).   If you don't, you run the risk of the late arrival not understanding the context of the discussion, and therefore not being able to contribute.   Ask one of the attendees to do the summary, and it becomes a useful management tool.

Managing people who are habitually late is another whole conversation.

Running a meeting
  1. Everybody should know why they are at the meeting, as well as why everybody else is.  That sets the scene for positive interaction.
  2. There should be a clear purpose and objective for the meeting, which is shared.
  3. All attendees should state what they hope to achieve from being at the meeting
  4. A time frame should be set and adhered to, and confirmed with all attendees (however there can be meetings which should run until agreement is reached)
  5. Open discussion makes for more effective meetings, so ensure that even the quieter people are given the opportunity to share their views.    I have heard that the meeting chair typically speaks for around 50% of each meeting, and I can see I fall into that trap very easily, so I make a point of asking for input from everybody.
  6. Summarise each item and confirm that there is an action and a responsible person, as well as a delivery deadline.  People tend to follow through more effectively when they have agreed to do something in front of witnesses!
  7. Set a follow up date for feedback and continuity at the meeting, or make the follow up part of somebody's action plan.   
  8. And, of course, follow up with written minutes or a summary of the action plan and the relevant responsibilities.
Meetings should always serve a purpose, it might just be about better communication and sharing information to help build a stronger network of skills and understanding, or it could be about very clear deliverables.   Whatever the purpose, it is important to measure the effectiveness and the impact on a regular basis, because every business interaction should be about moving the business forward.

Accsys Articles and News
Business Connexion






Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Which Wolf are you Feeding?

Which Wolf are you Feeding?
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life: (Sources – See below) A fight is going on inside me, he said to the boy.   It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.   One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith. This same fight is going on inside you – and every other person, too. The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather “Which wolf will win?” The old man replied simply “ The one you feed”. When I came across this story in a thriller by Michael Robotham, my reaction was immediate.  This is a great hook for creating positive thinking and, importantly to our business, a new way to approach an age old concern. Feeding the good wolf - focusing on the right stuff!  The message …

Thinking of leaving - should you discuss it with your manager?

The exit interview is not the time to tell your manager that you would have stayed if.....   When you are serious about your career, and really enjoy your job, except for one key component, take the time to talk before you resign.

While sometimes the grass is greener, more often than not you just inherit new issues at a new company.

It is a difficult labour market in South Africa right now, there is a skills shortage, and yet there are millions of people without jobs.   Working for a stable company, with people you like, and a job you enjoy is important, and yet there are often those frustrations that give you itchy feet.

In your current position, your manager might really want to keep you, and be very interested in finding out what would make you a happier, more productive, employee.   It is also sometimes much easier to have that conversation with somebody you already know, than have it in your first weeks in a new position.

When you know you have choices, as well as know that you …

Feeding the Right Wolf

Feeding the Right Wolf This Cherokee story resonated with me (see below). Like many business people, I get caught up in managing details, instead of focusing on strategy and growth.Measuring myself against the Good Wolf concept has become a way of thinking for me. Feeding the good wolf - focusing on the right stuff! In a previous article on this topic, I commented that the message is simple, the wolf you feed is the one that grows. The good wolf attributes in a business are where we ideally should spend our time, that good old 80 – 20 rule focusing on our engaged employees, improving client experience and quality of product, to name a few. Creating a Good Wolf Environment While we have many different tools – appraisals, customer and employee surveys – to try and understand the temperature and levels of entropy in our businesses – the truth is that it is really difficult to explain to people that they are not seen as feeding the good wolf.Often the people who offer the most negative input s…