Five Easy Steps to Great Meetings That Produce Results

Great meetings start with great facilitators. You may be a FABULOUS team leader, but if you don’t facilitate meetings well, you kill your credibility. Great meeting facilitators are highly organized, and it shows. Good meetings will flow if you follow some simple, tried and true rules. Here are five steps that I encourage you to consider before your next meeting.

  1. The Agenda: Publish the agenda in advance so attendees understand what’s expected of them and are prepared. They’re not the only ones who need to be prepared: make sure you review the agenda ahead of time and have your own ideas about each point. Nothing screams “waste of time” like the facilitator not being prepared for his or her own meeting.
  2. Meeting Mechanics: Be punctual, and start the meeting on time. Identify a note taker who can capture next steps while you focus on facilitating. Five Easy Steps to Great Meetings That Produce ResultsIntroduce anyone new to the group. Review the agenda, the objectives of the meeting, and ground rules for the meeting (such as everyone has to voice their opinion before decisions are made).
  3. Managing Communication Flow During the Meeting: You need to be aware of the makeup of your team. Some people will have more than their fair share to contribute. Others may have fantastic ideas swirling around in their heads, with little initiative to share as the extroverts are speaking for everyone. As the meeting facilitator, it is your job to manage the input of ALL of your participants, not just the noisy ones! Respect everyone’s rights within the group, and be flexible and open-minded about their opinions (and make sure everyone else is as well).
  4. Meat and Bones: As you work your way through your agenda, seek commitments from the group, but avoid detailed decision-making. You need to keep the group from getting bogged down with minutia while at the same time, ensuring forward movement on the project is accomplished.
  5. Winding Down: When the meeting time is up, summarize what the group has agreed to, who has action items and when you’ll next meet to continue discussions. Thank participants for their time and effort and close your meeting ON TIME. Follow up with written notes from the meeting, and the next steps for your team.

These common sense steps will get you in and out of meetings with your goals and objectives accomplished, and your team members singing your praises.

Next week: I will be celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends, and I hope you will be too! I’ll have more for you in two weeks. Enjoy your holiday!

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