What is a great meeting? A great meeting is a meeting that delivers outcomes, is interesting, keeps everyone engaged, attendees contribute to the agenda and take on tasks. One of the most significant results of a great meeting is that the next time an invitation to one of your meetings pops up in the attendees’ inboxes they will actually be happy to receive the invitation.
Yes, it is possible to pull off a great meeting and it isn’t difficult either. You just have to make sure to follow these five steps. Remember, great meetings always start with a clear purpose. Start there and you’ll see your desired results.
So, how can you pull off a great meeting?
Know what you want to achieve before you schedule the meeting.
You can’t measure results if you don’t know what results you are looking for. Before scheduling the meeting keep in mind that you are going to be taking up at least an hour of your teams’ time, so do you really need this to be a face to face meeting or can the subject be handled by phone or email? If you are really only looking for information you could ask for written reports. If you want to hold a great meeting it’s important that your attendees feel their presence is vital to the purpose of the meeting and that you’re not wasting their time.
Want a Great Meeting? Lead by example.
Commit to a great meeting by preparing for it in advance (write an agenda, know who should attend, who should present a subject and give them directions and time to prepare). Before the meeting arrange to have someone who is good at taking notes present during the meeting to take the meeting minutes. It is your job to keep the meeting on track. Following the meeting, make sure everyone receives the meeting minutes, which include a summary of the meeting, any reports that have been promised by presenters during the meeting, and a list of tasks and a timetable for their implementation, so everyone knows exactly what is expected of them.
As the meeting leader you should be there before the scheduled start time to make any last minute arrangements (like setting up presentations) and make sure the meetings starts on time. When the attendees see how committed you are to having a great meeting they will give you 100 percent of their effort.
Decide what type of meeting you need.
There are different types of meetings (for example, decision making meetings, status updates and information sharing meetings, innovation and brainstorming meetings, and team building meetings). Decide what kind of meeting you want to hold and plan it accordingly – define who should attend, how long you need for the meeting, how long you should spend on each subject, and what background information should be distributed for everyone to be on the same page going into the meeting. It’s also important to consider whether you really need a face to face meeting or if it can it be done by conference call or email – for example, often updating can be done by email.
If you want to spark creativity and brainstorm, sometimes its best to hold the meeting offsite at a different venue than where you usually meet. Take the team out of the office to get them to think out of the box.
Manage the meeting time.
One of the most important points to keep in mind if you want to hold a really great meeting is to respect your attendees’ time, even if that means you have to “police” the meeting to keep order. Watch the clock and don’t let people ramble on. If a matter which has already been discussed is raised again, move the meeting along and make a note that there is more to be said on this subject (maybe this conversation can be continued via email), keep an eye on the clock during presentations and make sure that the meeting starts and ends at the set times. Don’t forget that if people think you are wasting their time in a meeting they won’t want to come to future meetings. This can’t be stressed enough – respect your team’s time.
Only allow new information and ideas.
People don’t want to attend meetings to hear about things they already know. Subjects that have been discussed in previous meetings should have been summarized and circulated to the participants. If you want to build up on an idea that has already been discussed do a very quick recap, if absolutely necessary. Make presentations as interesting as possible, you don’t want attendees zoning out during a boring presentation of dozens of charts and graphs.
Who says there’s no such things as a great meeting? If you implement these five points you’ll find that it’s easy to hold a great meeting that attendees actually want to attend. And, when your attendees are happy to be there they will add value to the meeting and everyone will be happy with the outcome.