Let’s face it, work meetings get a bad rap. We’ve all sat in some pretty bad meetings and most of the time bad can be categorized as either unnecessary or unorganized. Below are a few steps to take to run a successful and productive meeting.
First and foremost, a meeting isn’t always the answer. Before sending out the request, make sure a meeting is the best avenue to move a project forward, get questions answered, brainstorm, etc. Would an email work better? Is the larger grouped needed? Work through a few different scenarios before deeming a meeting the right path.
Time the meeting accordingly.
- Try to avoid Monday mornings and Friday afternoons and better participation is almost guaranteed.
- Only schedule what you need – not everything takes an hour.
- Make sure the meeting fits at the appropriate time within the approved project timeline.
- Allow team members time before the meeting to prep and after to complete next steps.
Set an agenda and share with the team before the meeting.
- Define clear goals.
- Establish roles and responsibilities upfront so there are no surprises.
- Provide any background necessary and let the team know if any materials need to be reviewed before the meeting.
Derailment is a thing – get back on track.
- Come with talking points and questions to ask to keep the conversation moving.
- Use visuals to keep people focused.
- Always come back to the pre-set goals.
Always (always!) determine action items.
- At the end of the meeting define next steps as a group to keep accountability and make sure everyone is on board.
- Take notes and send to the team after the meeting.
- Follow up after the meeting with timelines for completing tasks.
These guidelines are simple and straightforward, but often get overlooked. Taking the time, each time, to go through the exercise will help set a meeting up for success and ensure it doesn’t turn out like this.