Among the biggest challenges you face when asked to chair a meeting is to maintain everyone on topic and focused. It’s such a challenge, actually, that most managers dread the thought of hosting a meeting. They know that if they do not keep the meeting focused and on topic little will be accomplished and most attendees will contemplate the entire exercise a waste of time.
Plan Ahead for Greatest Outcomes
Preparing a detailed meeting agenda shows you respect the attendees’ time and value their input. You’ll have a much better turnout and far more active participation – both critical elements of a profitable meeting. Your agenda ought to consist of the following:
- Meeting objectives
- Action item review
- Particular topics you’ll cover
- Any new action items
Ideally, you should send your agenda with the initial invitation to the meeting, and both should go out a minimum of a week in advance. Participants require time to contemplate their component inside the meeting, and to schedule the meeting date on their calendars.
Additionally, if the purpose of your meeting is to finalize an crucial decision, strategy to spend the week prior discussing numerous choices with choice makers and answering their questions. By finding buy-in from the choice makers in advance of the meeting you make certain that the meeting will run smoothly and be merely a formality inside the approval procedure.
Role Playing Keeps Everyone on Job
Meetings with far more than a couple of participants could be difficult to manage. Defining and assigning basic roles beforehand will maintain everyone focused, and aid prevent time overruns. The 3 key roles are those of chairperson, record keeper, and timekeeper.
The chairperson’s job is to follow the agenda and ensure all topics are covered. The record keeper is responsible for taking notes and compiling minutes. The timekeeper watches the clock and lets the chairperson know when it’s time to move to the next topic.
Dealing with Off-Topic Discussion
All meetings have the potential to stray from the original topic. Just as in everyday conversation, one topic leads naturally to one more, and soon you are discussing infrastructure upgrades rather than new acceptable use policies. In such circumstances, use the Parking Lot method: make note of the topic then defer – or park – it for consideration at a later time. Handling off-topic discussions in a meaningful way sends the message that whilst the topic is crucial, it would be greater to address it later.
Follow-Up for Better Feedback
Getting essentially the most out of a meeting does not end when participants head back to their offices. Follow-up rapidly – inside 24 hours – and distribute minutes to all attendees. Use the same format as your meeting agenda, with notes about actions taken, new action items assigned and their due dates, along with a short sentence or two about each topic discussed.
Effective meetings do not occur by accident. With careful planning and execution, although, they can be efficient and efficient. Understanding to host a productive meeting won’t only support accomplish your objectives, it’ll also enhance your professional standing and earn you the well-deserved reputation as an individual who gets things done.