Times are tight – and so is time. But if everyone could improve meetings, we’d all be able to save time, money and aggravation. We all live our lives attending meetings: staff meetings, management meetings, board meetings, project meetings, etc.
Then we go home, gobble our dinner and run to a PTA meeting, school meeting, scout meeting or church meeting.
When was the last time someone told you they were actually looking forward to attending one of these meetings? Probably never, right? Well it’s no wonder, most people running these meetings haven’t been trained on how to conduct a good meeting. And if they have been trained, they often forget. This leads to meetings that are inefficient, too long and boring – wasting time and money.
Here are some helpful reminders when preparing for and running your next meeting:
- Identify meeting objectives (what you want to accomplish) before the meeting.
- Plan your agenda. A good agenda outlines the steps you will take to accomplish the objectives.
- Communicate meeting objectives and agenda to participants in advance of the meeting.
- Ask participants to prepare in advance by reading reports, minutes, etc. before the meeting.
- Start the meeting on time, stay on time and stop on time.
- Encourage open communication. Ask what people think and really listen to what they say.
- Respect participants’ time and ideas.
- Summarize action steps at the close of the meeting.
- Ask participants how the meeting could be improved for next time.
- Act on the actions after the meeting.
I know these may be painfully obvious to some of you, but so is eating right and exercising. We know we are supposed to do it, but we often forget. So, the next time you plan a meeting, think about these tips.
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