Meetings can be both stressful and the single most effective way to move a project to the next level. The earlier if you have too many meetings in a row without a clear purpose, the latter to work through challenges, that may be perceived as greater than they actually are while being discussed in epic emails back and forth.
As far as meeting goes, they are also a great way to spearhead something forward, to bring a team together but also to deepen any relationships and to get to know your clients better.
I’m a firm believer in short, purposeful and effective meetings. Here’s my 11 tips on how to host an effective meeting, from beginning to end.
Purpose/Goal of meeting – decide on why you are meeting, who you really need at the meeting and what the end goal of your meeting is. What is the intention behind having this meeting?
Create a short agenda – before sending out a meeting invite, create a short bullet list of the points you like to go through so that your attendees get the opportunity to prepare in good time.
Add timings – to you agenda, if possible. I.e short introduction (5 mins), round-up of previous months activities (10 mins), etc.
Share any relevant documentation – or information which is relevant to the meeting in good time ahead of the meeting so that your attendees get the opportunity to look through, assess and be prepared to give their specific input at the meeting.
Stay on topic – if the conversation start to veer of topic. Get back on track with statements such as “As we are here to discuss” or “As we talked about earlier” etc. Pleasantries are nice, however try to get the socialising done in the beginning and in the end.
Park items – if you are unable to agree or come to a conclusion on a particular topic. Park it. Simply note it down and agree and commit to get back to it at a later date which you all agree upon.
Get everyone to participate – if someone has been quiet and not contributed, ask them in a nice way, to share their thoughts on a particular subject you are discussing. Sometimes people are shy and need an invite to join in.
Challenge topics, ideas or problems – stay away from challenging people. Focus on the topic and leave the person out of it. Everyone does not have to agree, but learn how to separate the topics from the people.
A meeting invite contains – date and start and end time, goal/purpose of meeting (if applicable), agenda and an address to the place of the meeting.
Sum it up – in the end before everyones leaves, take a few minutes to wrap up the meeting. Quickly sum up what you decided, what actions and next steps you need to take and anything else, which was noteworthy. If no one adds anything else. You all agree 🙂
Take notes – on what you agreed upon, actions with the responsible person and deadlines. Email to everyone, and ask for clarifications, corrections and input on additional thoughts after the meeting, if any.
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Image source: found on Pinterest. Unsure of whom to credit. Would love to know who took the image and where its from.