Sara El Kareh
In order not to make the common mistake of holding bad meetings that waste participants’ time, and to gain appreciation of colleagues, the following tips help in succeeding at leading meetings:
The leader of a meeting should not try to improvise the meetings. Even focus groups and brainstorming sessions need prior preparation. Before any meeting the following points should be considered
Emails, phone calls, or discussions between two parties could do the job sometimes. If this is the case, there’s no need to waste people’s valuable time and energy.
All necessary people should be invited to attend, and there should be a justification for their invitation. Those who only participate partially should leave and only partake in the part relevant to them.
- End Result
The outcome of the meeting should be well defined. Participants should know ahead of time or at the debut of the meeting what the expectations are.
The meeting should be designed in a way that caters to their nature; Whether decisions are being made, tacit knowledge is being passed, or new ideas are brainstormed. The setting and communication should reflect such.
- The Steps
The meeting should be planned and have a rubric to follow. Identified targets help in allocating time for each step.
Sharing the agenda with participants allows them to prepare their toolkit to what they will bring to the table.
2. Time Management
- Agenda and major points should be known to all participants prior to the meeting, allowing them to prepare and save time during.
- Punctuality and commitment to schedule praises those who are punctual. Starting late punishes them on the cost of those who don’t arrive on time.
- Although tempting to get smaller things out of the way, discussing major things first saves time in the overall.
- Electronic devices not pertinent to the meeting should be stowed away not to distract participants.
- The agenda is there to be followed, however a minor deviation for an important issue is OK
- Multi discussions at the same time prove themselves unfruitful and scatter ideas and attention. One topic should be discussed at a time.
- The end target should always be in focus, and the discussion should always be geared towards achieving it.
- Breaks should be planned, and taken, in long meetings for participants to recap and refresh and not lose energy and focus.
- Marginal meetings should be arranged to discuss topics that relate to only a few participants and no the whole group.
- The end time should be considerate of the goal and capabilities of participants and should be respected.
3. Path Forward
Whatever has been achieved in the meeting should be clear to all participants, namely in decision making meetings. The path forward in the next step should be clear as follows:
- Prior to closing the meeting, minutes of meeting should be read to all participants and decisions should be restated.
- A clear list of actions should be made.
- Every item on the aforementioned list should have someone responsible for it.
- Along with responsibilities, deadlines and durations should be agreed upon and stated.
- Checks and balances should be set, at pre-determined time, to evaluate progress made towards achieving the goal.
- In the case of follow up meetings, it should be known what must be completed prior.