Time is valuable! Meetings are an investment of resources and time that should earn a profit—a more engaged workforce, open communication and increased job satisfaction. As the meeting leader, it is your responsibility and role to encourage positive participation from all team members; promote open, transparent dialogue; and frame the meeting and language in a way that fosters solutions and improves job satisfaction.
Below are guiding principles in developing and delivering a productive meeting:
- Create an agenda.
- List topics for discussion and send it out prior to the meeting. Invite feedback from participants and make updates to the agenda if necessary. Send out a revised agenda if changes are made.
- Make sure that all topics are relevant and the time allowed is adequate.
- Know what your goals for the meeting are so that you can evaluate its success.
- Be clear on the purpose of the meeting. Each participant needs to be aware of the intent.
- Set ground rules and tone.
- No interrupting put phones away, etc.…
- Be open, honest and sincere.
- Encourage everyone to participate. (within time constraints)
- Don’t let one or two people dominate the discussions.
- Let participants know that you are looking for solutions, not criticism.
- Assign Action Items
- Have at least one person taking meeting notes.
- When action items come up, note them and assign follow-up immediately.
- End the Meeting with a Summary of Decisions and Assignments
- Take a few minutes to recap each topics discussions and action item assignments.
- Set the next meeting when the results of the action items can be reviewed.
- Open discussion.
- The final item on the agenda should allow for open discussion. This allows the team to clarify any miscommunication, reinforce expectations and discuss any issues that might hinder goals.
Additionally, if the purpose of the meeting is to deliver bad news, do not beat around the bush. State the bad news. Be clear and do not try to obscure the situation. People will appreciate your honesty and openness. Be sure to state only relevant facts or strategies. Let your staff know if there are possible alternatives being considered. Openly discuss the options available and possible solutions. Set your goals and expectations for the future. In your summary, set the key points to remember that will give the audience confidence or improve morale.
Remember, not all information sharing requires a meeting. If the information can be shared in a memo or email, do so. Travel, time constraints and budget are factors in this determination. The utilization of Microsoft Teams and teleconferencing needs to be considered when appropriate.
Make every effort to end your meeting on a positive note. Let your staff know that you appreciate them and the work that they do. Each person attending is a very valuable part of our team. Treat each member with dignity and respect and encourage them to do the same with their clients and co-workers.