How to conduct effective meetings

Is your calendar overflowing with meetings? As they can be a major disruption to your workday and productivity, we believe you should only have a meeting when there’s something worth sharing.

Personally speaking, there are lots of meetings I’ve sat through and thought, this is a complete waste of my time!

Most of us want to be productive and we can often end up feeling like time spent in a meeting could be better spent elsewhere.

The most common causes of ineffective meetings are no clear aim, no agenda or no clear outcomes.

At times attendees can end up leaving with more questions than answers!

Jason Fried is an advocate of just sacking meetings and seeing what happens. But what if you need to have a team meeting?

The ability to run effective meetings can be a critical skill to have as a manager… So, how can you do it right?

Let’s look at nine tips to help you run effective team meetings.

1. Identify the Purpose of the Meeting

First off, ask yourself, what do I hope to achieve with this meeting? You need to be specific.

Once you have the meeting’s goal and objectives, you can then start to think about when to schedule it and get cracking on an agenda.

2. Create an Agenda

How to conduct effective meetings

Creating an agenda will help keep your meeting on track. Start with an outline of the themes you want to cover.

Once you have your structure in place, assign a time limit to each section. This will help prevent the meeting from overrunning or later sections being neglected.

3. Add Discussion Topics

Now, it’s time to add some meat to the bones!

Under each section, detail discussion topics in bullet points. The more detailed you are here, the better.

Adding discussion topics will help to keep the meeting on target and remind you what the objective is.

4. Share the Agenda BEFORE the Meeting

By sharing the agenda before the meeting, you give attendees a chance to prepare and get familiar with the topics of discussion.

This should help you get started straight away and team members will hopefully come to the meeting full of ideas and solutions.

How to conduct effective meetings

If you’re using a team collaboration tool like Tameday to schedule the meeting, you can simply attach your agenda to the event.

5. Who’s Taking Notes?

Notes will be a written record of the meeting — what’s been discussed, actions and who’s been assigned what.

Notes are great for sharing with those who were unable to attend or had to leave early.

Assign someone to do this. It can be done digitally or old school using pen and paper, then typed up.

If you’re using Tameday, you can then simply add these notes to the meeting event.

Jeff Bezos’ Three Rules for Meetings at Amazon

  1. He creates teams that are no larger than can be fed by two pizzas.
  2. No PowerPoints are used. Instead, six-page structured memos of sentences, not bullet points, are prepared in advance.
  3. Everybody sits around the table and reads the memo silently for 30 mins or however long it takes. Then, they discuss it.

6. Start on Time

How to conduct effective meetings

If you want to achieve your goals and outcomes, it’s best to start a meeting on time.

Otherwise, you end up wasting everyone’s time for someone who might not show up at all.

If someone comes in late and see you’ve started without them, then next time they may make more of an effort to be there on time.

The first five minutes of a meeting are the most important as they set the tone for the rest of the meeting.

You should establish why the meeting has been called, how long it will last and what needs to be done.

You might say something like:

“We are here to talk about X and to come to a decision and resolution on this problem. Here is the information that we have and the alternatives we’ve considered.”

7. Encourage Participation

How to conduct effective meetings

For an effective meeting, you need to create an environment where everyone is willing to share their ideas and thoughts.

Effective leaders will take on the role of a facilitator and encourage those who are less confident to share their thoughts and ideas.

This is another benefit of sharing the agenda before the meeting — most attendees should hopefully have had time to think and come ready with questions and ideas.

8. Assign Actions

As the meeting progresses, a number of resulting action items should be created.

If you’re a Tameday user, you can easily set the action items up as to-dos during or after the meeting and assign them to the relevant member of your team.

How to conduct effective meetings

It’s a good idea to agree upon and set a realistic completion date for each action item.

9. Share Information

If you’re still using email, try to share the notes and outcomes of the meeting as soon as possible.

One of tthe benefits of using Tameday for note-taking and task assignment is that by the time team members have returned to their desks they will have the meeting outcomes and any action items will be in their to-do lists.

It really is a more efficient and effective way of running a meeting (and a team)!

Final Thoughts

When it comes to meetings, we believe there are lots that can be avoided by using instant chat or online discussion platforms.

So, next time you need to set up a team meeting, take a moment to think if there’s another way the information can be shared with others.

We do understand there are times when meeting in person is necessary — for these meetings to be effective, they need to be well-planned using the advice outlined above.

If you want to use Tameday to run the different aspects of a meeting: share an agenda, notes and task assignment… then you can sign up for a free 30-day trial and start boosting your team’s productivity today!

How to conduct effective meetings

  • By Simon Kelly
  • on September 3, 2019

How to conduct effective meetings

It’s easy to walk into the first meeting with a prospective client and let them take the reins. After all, they were the one who reached out to you, right? But that mistake could have far-reaching effects on your relationship with them as a client and, not only that, it could adversely affect the rest of your business.

In order to run more effective client meetings, you must position yourself as an expert and authority right from the start. In the video and recap below, I’ll share with you my five-step framework for accomplishing this.

How to Run More Effective Client Meetings

Even if a prospect or client sends you information ahead of a scheduled meeting, there’s more to preparing for it than just reading through the notes.

With the following framework, you’ll see that initial meetings with prospects (and later ones with them as clients) become a platform through which you demonstrate your expertise and authority. By taking control of the meeting, asking the right questions and ensuring that your client is on board every step of the way, they’ll feel more at ease, which will lead to greater trust in what you do.

To establish this framework for your own business, start here:

Step 1: Set the Agenda

One of the benefits of following a consistent process is that it gives you confidence in what you do. This is why it’s absolutely critical to have a framework in place for initial meetings with prospects or clients.

They’re going to walk into this first meeting wondering how it’s going to go and what they should ask. But you’re going to be ready to take control the second they show up in person, over the phone or on Zoom.

You: “Thanks for taking the time to meet with me today. I have another meeting to attend in 45 minutes, so I’d like to get us started on the agenda, so we have time to cover everything.”

Client: They nod in agreement and begin to relax as you’ve taken control.

You: “I received your original inquiry. Thanks for being so thorough. I just want to get crystal-clear on the objectives and deliverables. Is that okay?”

Client: Again, they nod in agreement and relax even further as you demonstrate that you know exactly what you’re doing.

This will set the tone not just for this first interaction, but for every interaction you have with them in the future. It lets them know that you’re the expert, and they can 100% put their trust in you to handle things.

Step 2: Confirm the Decision Maker Is Present

Ideally, before a meeting is scheduled, you’re able to confirm who the decision maker is (i.e. the person who approves the deliverables and writes the checks). To be on the safe side, you should confirm this is the case before you move on in the meeting.

You: “Just to confirm, who will be the decision maker on this project?”

Client: If they say “me” or name someone else present, then you’re good to go. If not, kindly ask them to reschedule.

This isn’t a slight to the second-in-command. These people are often an integral part of keeping things moving on a project. However, it doesn’t make much sense to talk about objectives with someone who won’t be making the call on whether or not you’ve successfully met them.

Step 3: Record the Conversation

It’s important to record the initial meeting with clients. For starters, it frees you up to focus on the conversation rather than jotting down notes. Secondly, it’s always a good idea to have a record of the most pertinent details of a job. You never know when you’ll need to go back and review them (like when drawing up the details of your proposal).

If you’re using a tool like Skype or Zoom to host your meetings, they come with built-in recorders. If you’re meeting in person, then a call recorder app on your phone will do.

Before you hit that “Record” button, though, you should ask the prospect for permission.

You: “I’d like to record this meeting to make sure we don’t miss anything. Is that okay with you?”

In posing this question to them, you’ll again reinforce the idea that you’re an expert with a process they can trust.

Step 4: Understand the Goals & Objectives

For many designers and agencies, this is the hardest part of the process to adjust to. That’s because, if this call were driven by the client (which you may be accustomed to), then you’ve been trained to talk about yourself and your experience, the ideas you have for the website, the themes and plugins you plan to use, and so on. But you have to resist that temptation.

This call isn’t about you or what you want to do. This is about exploring their goals and objectives, and really drilling down into what they need.

You’re going to accomplish this by using the Go Wide Go Deep method.

You: “Why do you need this website?”

Client: “I want to double my email list in the next 12 months.”

You: “How will that impact your business?”

Client: “Well, I mostly host free webinars right now, but would like to do more paid seminars and retreats.”

You: “And once you’ve doubled your email list, how will that make things better for you?”

Client: “I really enjoy training my clients, but don’t have much time for it because I have so much planning and marketing to do for my webinars. With more paying clients, I won’t have to hustle so much and can focus on what I enjoy doing.”

Using this process, you’ll be able to identify why this project is important to your client and create a clear vision for what success looks like at the end of it. Your clients often don’t even know what this looks like, so this exercise will be useful for both you and them.

Step 5: Send a Recap

After the meeting, you should follow up with a recap of the meeting. Like you, your client wasn’t sitting through the meeting jotting down notes. So, this is a nice way to say “Hey, I got you covered”.

The recap should be a brief rundown of what you discussed, including the project’s objectives, the budget as well as the measurements for success. You’ll follow up with more specifics in the proposal. For now, though, this primes them for the much bigger pitch to come.

It also reinforces your authority in this relationship, so they can rest easy knowing you’ve got everything under control. This is a sure-fire way to ensure that you have more effective client meetings.

Wrap-Up

Now that you have this framework, it’s time to look at what your next steps are. First, you need to add this framework into your workflow. The more consistent you are in using this process in client meetings, the more natural it will feel.

Next, if you’re ready to take your business to the next level, sign up for this free webinar. You’ll learn how to attract better clients, make more money and be much happier in what you do.

May 14, 2018 – Warren Fowler

We’ve all experienced meetings where our minds drift and we wonder why on earth we are wasting our time. Some meetings certainly are unproductive and a waste of time. However, business meetings are an essential way to communicate and necessary for making effective decisions.

Your co-workers won’t appreciate having to attend meandering, pointless meetings. Many people feel that meetings are the biggest time waster at work. Here are six must-know tips on how to conduct a productive meeting.

1. Know the goal of the meeting

Is your meeting intended to generate new ideas, make decisions or gather information? Perhaps it’s a combination of all three? If you don’t know what you want to accomplish, you can be pretty sure it won’t happen.

If you set a specific goal for a meeting, people are better prepared. Perhaps the goal of the meeting is to brainstorm new project ideas. If attendees have an agenda, they can come up with ideas prior to the meeting so that no time is wasted when the meeting begins.

Serious decisions may require pre-wiring. In essence, this involves communicating one-on-one with people before the meeting about a decision. When this is done, the meeting has more chance of being successful.

2. Prepare an agenda

A vague intention to cover a certain topic in a meeting does not produce effective results. You need to prepare a specific agenda for a meeting and make sure it is in the hands of the people who will attend at least the day before. Everyone attending a meeting should have a clear idea of why they are gathered and what needs to be accomplished.

Make sure that your agenda includes who will attend, the time and location, a list of the topics to be covered and a brief description of the objectives of the meeting. Any background information attendees need to know may also be included.

If you have a weekly meeting to discuss the status of a project, preparing a template for an agenda that allows you to fill in the blanks each week helps to save time.

3. Make sure the right people attend

You need to carefully consider who to invite to a meeting. The people in the room can make or break the meeting. You need to invite those who will help you to achieve your objectives. Limit the number of attendees as far as possible because it’s more difficult to pick up on body language if the room is full and the more people there are, the less pressure they feel to participate.

David May of ResumesPlanet suggests using the well-known 2/3 rule. He says “only those affected by at least two out of three items on the agenda should be invited to attend a business meeting. When people don’t think the topic is relevant to them and don’t see how they can assist, they are sure to feel they are wasting time.”

How to conduct effective meetings

4. Pay attention to time

When no-one is conscious of the time, it is easy to go on for too long and become unfocused. If you are leading a meeting, you should try to start and finish on time. If you regularly hold meetings, people will know you start and end promptly and are more likely to attend your meetings.

You want to make every second count, and this is where your agenda comes in handy. You can prioritize important topics and allow a specific time for each topic. You could put the agenda up on a whiteboard for others to see to help keep attendees focused.

It’s very likely that 30 minutes into a meeting, attention is not as sharp as it was at the beginning. The longer meetings drag on, the fewer people pay attention. Meetings should not go on for longer than an hour if you help it.

5. Keep the focus, avoid going off topic

This does not mean being so inflexible that you ignore interesting points that are raised if they do not relate to the agenda. A good way to handle this is to acknowledge the input and suggest that it will be included in the meeting notes and explored at another time.

It’s up to you to find a way to deal with guiding the meeting back to the assigned topic, allowing each person the chance to participate and being conscious of one person talking more than his or her fair share. You also need to make sure that people don’t talk over each other and cover the same points.

Keeping a meeting focused takes some skill, and it may help to learn some fundamental communication skills through online classes. VirtualSpeech offers online classes where you can practice these skills in immersive virtual reality. You can use real-time voice analysis and tracking technology to identify areas that need improving.

You will get feedback on issues such as your speaking pace and eye contact. These factors could make a significant difference in how you present your ideas and keep a corporate meeting focused. You will also learn to listen more effectively.

Another important aspect to consider is whether to get attendees to turn off or silence all electronic devices. The reality is that people who bring electronic devices into the room with them could be emailing and playing games instead of focusing on the meeting or making contributions. Many people attending meetings want to make notes on their tablets or mobile phones, but this task could be allocated to one person.

6. Take notes

If you plan to send out summaries or minutes of the meeting, you should mention this at the start of the meeting. Emailing a memo documenting responsibilities given, tasks delegated and deadlines assigned keeps everyone on the same page and allows for accountability.

If you’ve come to the end of a meeting without having some actionable next steps, the meeting was most likely a waste of time. If you’ve managed to maintain a clear focus, you should have a concrete plan of action and be able to follow up on it.

Short bio:

Warren’s lifestyle is full of hiking adventures. When he’s not busy with his guitar or enjoying the sunny day outside, he excels at blogging skills and leaps through social media. You can meet him on Twitter and Facebook.

How to conduct effective meetings

Want to level-up your strategies? Visit us at http://www.strategy-planning-group.com

Business meetings are known to be the most important aspect of the companies. These meetings help you to keep an eye on various processes of the organization and reach the goals.

Apart from this it also helps you to discuss various ideas, keep updated with the new trends, make decisions and build the team. Office meetings are considered to be essential to evaluate your target goals whether you are a small or a big organization. These can be either arranged in the office or at the specialized meeting rooms. You can easily rent meeting rooms in Melbourne to arrange the meetings. These business meetings are important for employees as well as for management. But sometimes due to a few reasons it does not get feasible for both the parties to attend the meeting. Here are a few tips that would help you to conduct effective office meetings.

Set the agenda of the meeting

This would be one of the basic steps that you would need to take while arranging the office meeting. According to the research setting the agenda can reduce the overall meeting time by up to 80% which is huge. You can create the agenda of the meeting to achieve the purpose of the meeting. Here you can list down the topics that you would like to discuss during the meeting by allotting the specific time to each. You can then send this schedule to all the participants so that they will be ready for it. This will save a lot of your time.

Set the clear purpose of the meeting

Setting up the meeting without any purpose can be a huge failure for you. Hence it is always recommended to start your meeting with the purpose. Setting up the purpose will give you a clear perspective of the topic. You can share the purpose of the meeting with your participants in advance.

Decide on the start and end time of the meeting

Business meetings can be boring for most of the employees and hence make sure to keep it short and to the point. You can make a plan to start and end the meeting at a given time itself. Make sure to start the session with the available participants to show your punctuality.

Keep the session interactive with a bit humor

A business meeting should always be in the form of an interactive session and no one wants the boring meeting to only display the numbers. If you are a host then make sure to have a little bit of fun in the session. You can encourage the participants to communicate with each other to keep them engaged.

Active participation of everyone

Business meetings are meant to help to arrange two-way communication. Hence make sure to encourage all the participants to share their views or ideas about the concept that you are talking about. Make sure you hear out from everyone and then jump on the conclusion. This will show participants your way of handling and respecting people. You should always make the collective decision by taking everyone’s opinion.

Meetings can be a challenge to organize and keep on track when you are in charge of organizing one. Here are some tips that can help!

Whether you’re a student or working professional you’ve likely been to a meeting that you felt was unproductive and didn’t accomplish much.

When you are in charge of organizing meetings, it can be a challenge to organize and keep on track. Here are some tips that can help:

Plan Ahead

Though this tip sounds simple, failure to plan is an easy way to sabotage your meeting. If you don’t plan, the meeting might not meet your goals and could undermine your productivity.

Instead of winging it, set aside time in advance to figure things out. Think about what you’re going to go over when you meet. Your ultimate goal should be ensuring that you can address the who, what, when, where and why of your meeting in advance.

If you need help ensuring you set time for planning, try scheduling some reminders on your phone or computer. The key to all this planning is to ensure that you have time to breathe and gather your thoughts. Make it easy on yourself.

Create an Outline

While planning, be sure to write a brief outline of everything you’d like to address during your meeting. You don’t have to rigidly stick to it; in fact, it’s recommended you don’t! Meetings can often take unexpected turns, so a flexible outline that keeps you on track yet provides wiggle room is an excellent idea.

To achieve this, create an outline with at least the top three items you want to have addressed by the end of your meeting.

A good way to make an outline flexible is to list general topics rather than something specific. That way, you can add anything new to them should your meeting diverge a bit. For example, your goal could be to “come up with ideas for a marketing campaign.” This shows you want to have a concrete plan, but your open to other diverging options that could occur.

Of course, if your meeting is intended to create specific numbers and goals, be sure to make your outline with specific goals in mind. Ultimately, your outline should suit your needs first and foremost.

It’s best to write these outlines on paper since this forces your brain to slow down a bit and think about what you need to discuss. Plus, you can have the list written in front of you where you can take other notes to help you remember your discussions around your goals during the gathering.

Take notes

This is perhaps one of the greatest challenges for people, as not many like to do it. Regardless, take notes and more importantly, take them by hand!

The main reason you should take notes is that information can be easily forgotten during longer meetings. The human brain tends to lose focus in longer sessions, resulting in foggy details when trying to recall information later. That’s where notes come in.

Generally, hand-written notes are better since they make you focus more on what’s going on rather than copying each word spoken when typing. In other words, typing often leads to passively listening while writing leads to active listening. A good way to think about this is you should remember concepts, not each word.

When you’re done with the meeting, you should take your notes and organize them on your computer in a digital format. Doing so will allow you to now have reminders in two formats. It will help you remember what needs to be done. You can even create an easily digestible to-do list out of them.

Choose an Effective Time

A lot of people don’t like morning meetings, and late meetings can be a problem too because everyone’s attention span has waned when they’re ready to go home. Lunchtime meetings can be problematic as well unless people are enjoying the lunch during the meeting.

Finding a balance between all of these times is key! If you choose a morning meeting, consider sometime from 10 to 11 a.m. For afternoon meetings, consider 1 to 4 p.m. These provide ideal windows to get things done without much distraction.

Of course, the structure of your company, those in attendance, and your work schedule can vary on an individual basis. Figure out what time works best for those who will attend the meeting.

Practice Time Management During the Meeting

Time management is such an important skill people rarely think about. Be sure you have some way of keeping time, whether it’s a clock in the room or your computer. Then, make sure you have enough time for each item on your outline.

If the conversation is getting out of hand, the leader should try to reach a solution, make a decision, or table the discussion for now. You can always schedule another meeting to address bigger issues that come up.

This is where your list can come in: cross it off as you watch that clock! If you have achieved everything on that list, odds are your time management skills are paying off.

How to conduct effective meetings

Members of an organisation meet to discuss company objectives and operations during business meetings. They are one of the most crucial aspects of any organisation. Meetings are essential for the company’s decision-making. It keeps everyone informed and updated about the company’s situation, and formulates solutions for all sorts of problems.

Whether you’re running a small business or a big one, conducting an effective meeting is important. Make sure that you have everything needed before starting the meeting. Always check your laptop if it’s operating efficiently. Check if the projector is also correctly placed on the projector ceiling bracket, so you wouldn’t have any problems when presenting.

Other than these, here are some more helpful tips on how to conduct effective business meetings.

1. Prepare a lot

One primary reason for ineffective business meetings is when the person presenting is not prepared thoroughly. Before inviting everyone to the meeting, ask yourself first if you are ready to discuss everything needed. Do you know well the purpose of your meeting? What are the results you’re aiming for? Or, do you have a list of the things you need to talk about? Ask yourself these questions, and if you have the answers on your head, then go and start that meeting.

2. Start and end your meeting on time

Starting your meeting on time is also vital. As much as you can, avoid being the reason why business meetings start late. If you are the one presenting and in charge of the discussions, make sure that you are on time. If possible, come earlier than the agreed schedule, so you have time to prepare yourself and everything you need. Every minute is precious, especially to those who have things to do. It’s a must that you start and end the meeting on time. It will give others the impression that you are a professional and you value other’s time.

3. Be open-minded

Every business meeting should have two-way communication. When conducting business meetings, remember to listen to what others say. Be open to accept new ideas from your attendees. You should stick to your agenda, but if others have better ideas, be open-minded and accept them.

4. Make the business meeting lively

Meetings are tiresome and can be boring. And no one wants to enter a room with a boring atmosphere. So spice things up, and encourage everyone to communicate with each other. Be serious when talking about your agenda, but do not forget to let everybody have fun. Conducting a business meeting in a lively way will keep the attendees engaged.

These are just some of the few things you need to keep in mind if you are about to conduct a business meeting. It won’t be hard to do it effectively if you are well-prepared and if you know the purpose of why you’re conducting a meeting. If you don’t want your attendees to get bored, let them participate. Prepare everything you need ahead of time so that you won’t be in a rush a few minutes before the business meeting.

How to conduct effective meetings

Image by Maddy Price © The Balance 2019

Effective meetings are interesting, high-energy events where team members work together to make decisions or solve problems. Unfortunately, too many of the meetings we attend seem to be just the opposite. The worst meetings bring time to a crawl leaving everyone mentally and emotionally exhausted and more than a little bit frustrated. The difference is in how the meetings are planned and run.

The best managers understand the importance of these events, and they understand that producing a great meeting takes planning and deliberate effort. This article offers ten tips to help you take advantage of this valuable collaboration time with your team. Here are tips on how to strengthen your team meetings.

Have a Positive Attitude About Meetings

It is the single most important thing a manager can do as a leader to improve team meetings. It’s surprising how many managers are proud to proclaim their dislike of meetings, but to achieve significant results, solve problems, make decisions, inform, inspire, collaborate, and motivate, managers need to work with people.

That means occasionally getting those people together in a room or on a conference call and talking to them. Managing isn’t about sitting in the office with the door shut sending emails. As a leader, try looking at meetings as the manifestation of leadership. It’s leadership showtime, not something to dread like a trip to the dentist.

Remember, You Own the Meeting

Don’t delegate the agenda planning to an administrative assistant or another team member. As the leader, it’s your meeting to plan and run. To put yourself in the proper frame of mind, ask and answer the following question: “After this meeting, what will I want people to have learned, achieved or solved?”

Always Prepare an Agenda

Everything you will ever read about effective workplace meetings includes advice on preparing an agenda. Yet, we’ve all shown up to a meeting where there is no agenda to be found. The act of planning the agenda helps to focus and identify the priority topics for the meeting.

Ask for Input on the Agenda

Although it’s the manager’s primary responsibility to develop the agenda, team members can be invited to contribute agenda items. Send out a call for ideas a few days before the meeting.

Spice It Up

Put a little variety in the format. Here are a few things you can do to spice up your team meetings:

  • Invite guest speakers
  • Celebrate something
  • Conduct a “learning roundtable” — have team members take a turn teaching each other something
  • Watch a Ted Talk that’s relevant to the meeting agenda
  • Run a team-building activity
  • Change locations (consider taking the meeting off-site)
  • Bring in some fun or interesting food
  • Have a “single item agenda” meeting
  • Ask for lightning round updates
  • Engage the team in brainstorming
  • Switch chairs or change up anything to break up the monotony

Allow Some “White Space” for Spontaneous Creativity and Engagement

Don’t cram so many items on the agenda that you struggle to complete it. Instead, leave some room at the end for spontaneous discussion. If the meeting ends early, then let everyone go early. Everyone appreciates found time as well.

Use Team Meetings to Collaborate

Instead of just sharing information, try solving a problem or working with the group on arriving at a decision. Yes, it’s challenging and can be messy, but that’s where we get the most value from meetings.

Lighten Up

Being the leader of a meeting isn’t about flaunting authority or abusing power. Chastising someone for being late in front of the team is an example of doing this. Keep a sense of humor and your humility.

Follow-Up

Keep track of action items and make sure people do what they say they are going to do. It’s frustrating to show up at the next meeting and find out half the team didn’t bother doing what they committed to in the last meeting. Follow up before the meeting and hold individuals accountable for their commitments.

Be a Role Model Leader

Team meetings are not a time to let your guard down and kick back with your team. Hold yourself and your team to the highest standards of conduct, which means no off-color jokes, picking on team members, cynicism and sarcasm, or bashing other departments or management. Think about the kind of leader you want to be known as, and then show up to each and every meeting being that leader.

The Bottom Line

An opportunity to meet and work with your team is a horrible thing to waste. It is imperative that you develop the discipline to plan and lead meetings that people value and push initiatives forward.

How to conduct effective meetings

“Indescribable, interminable horror.” Such was the response to my casual, “How’s your annual Sales Conference going?” asked of a friend attending her company meeting. What a shame!

Why is it that meetings too often leave us fatigued, frustrated or deflated? Having spent countless hours in some well-run – and occasionally “horrific” – meetings, four elements of great meetings stand out that ensure everyone walks away feeling energized and engaged.

Clarity of Purpose.

Why are we meeting? What are we here to learn, solve, decide, explore or align on? What outcomes will indicate this meeting has been a success?

Given the investment, it is incumbent on the organizer to ensure the meeting serves a worthwhile purpose. Meeting for the sake of meeting, or simply because it was scheduled as a recurring event, results in people constantly checking devices waiting for the best part of the meeting to arrive: the end.

Manage the agenda to outcomes that align with the purpose rather than to time slots; if discussions are purposeful and progressing, keep going. And once an outcome is realized, move on! If more time on a topic is needed, you’ll have it because you made up time elsewhere.

Candor.

A leaders’ inability – or unwillingness – to address critical issues directly and transparently is enormously frustrating. Every one of us has been in meetings where a meaningful, pressing issue arose and leadership attempted to suppress, skate around or ignore the matter, often while knowing this issue mattered more than any other. This leads to people arriving at meetings fully expecting to have much of their time wasted on trivial or superficial matters, irrelevant training modules and gratuitous cheerleading while being offered trash and trinkets for performing like trained seals, barking applauding on cue.

Involvement.

Include people in the preparation of the meeting, and design opportunities for real engagement throughout. Ask what issues or concerns need to be addressed, and then address those! Engage people in solving real issues, brainstorming about new products or processes, and identifying obstacles to success. Manage the energy of the event; don’t torture people with bloated slide presentations that should be distributed in advance or covered in a few minutes. Rather than you listing a bunch of accomplishments, have them acknowledge each other. Keep it moving, but do not diminish people with insulting incentives (e.g. $50.00 to the person who asks the most questions…).

Related: 7 Secrets of the Most Productive Meetings

Close with Commitment

Ensure people know what comes next:

  • What did we specifically agree to during this meeting?
  • Identify the individual accountable for every to-do.
  • When will we report back on open items?
  • When will we reconvene (if necessary)?

In short:

  • Be specific and explicit about the purpose and desired objectives;
  • Wade into difficult issues rather than tip-toing around them;
  • Ensure participants have a meaningful role before and during;
  • Finish with clarity and specificity about what comes next.

Do these and the surge of energy and productivity will astonish you.