the secret to effective meetings

What Is The Secret To Effective Meetings?

We’ve all had our fair share of bad meetings. You might even remember a choice few that were truly, truly horrible. But despite their bad reputation, meetings are here to stay and you just have to keep going to them. It’s because effective meetings get things done.

One survey revealed that 97 percent of workers said that they did their best work during meetings.

If you want to have productive and effective meetings, you need to get better at leading them.

Why You Need To Lead More Effective Meetings

  • You earn respect and stature. When you run good meetings, people walk away from them with a sense of accomplishment. Attendees will recognize your ability to get work done through those meetings. You’ll probably gain a reputation as the ‘master of meetings’ in the office.
  • You learn useful skills. Running effective meetings boosts not only your organizational skills, but also your ability to read people, listen to others, negotiate terms, and create solutions. It also teaches patience. Lots and lots of patience.
  • You develop valuable relationships. As you continue managing productive meetings, you gain more and more trust in your workplace. Your boss, your team, and even the upper management will want you to facilitate their meetings.

10 Questions To Ask That Will Help You Lead Effective Meetings

So how do you run a good meeting? Here are a few questions to keep in mind that will help you lead better and more productive meetings:

Before the meeting

1. Is a meeting really necessary?

If all you need is to share short updates, maybe you should email people instead. If the topic is too complex for an email, that’s the time to meet up.

2. Who needs to attend the meeting?

The fewer people in the meeting, the more focused it will be, and the more productive it is for each attendee. Also make sure each attendee knows their role for the meeting.

3. What should each person know before the meeting?

To keep meetings productive, it might be necessary to assign pre-work to attendees. Send them an agenda and ask for inputs before the scheduled date. And make sure you also do your research and know all the facts before going into the meeting.

During the meeting

4. What are the goals of the meeting?

Have a clear set of objectives for the meeting. Make sure you clearly communicate these objectives at the start of the meeting to keep discussions on track.

5. Is everyone ready?

It’s best to start the meeting on a friendly and positive note to increase participation. You can do this by asking a provocative question, citing an intriguing statistic, or telling a short but relevant story.

6. Does everyone engage and participate?

Here’s where your people skills come into play. Foster creativity by staying open-minded, encouraging collaboration, and giving people time to think before answering. Also, expect disagreements to crop up. Keep these discussions on topic to prevent unproductive arguments.

7. Are you leading the meeting?

Leadership is a crucial factor for meeting success. You’re role is like an orchestra conductor, actively guiding and directing the flow of the meeting. Don’t be afraid to “park” side discussions, skip unproductive agenda items, and address key issues head on. You also need to clearly announce any departures from the agenda so everyone stays on the same page.

Ending the meeting

8. Does everyone know the next steps?

End with a summary of agreed actions and who should do what and by when. Email these actions to everyone involved and follow up when necessary.

9. Are you respecting everyone’s time?

It’s good to end meetings on time so everyone can start working on their next steps. But it’s also good to keep the momentum going, especially when you’re close to a breakthrough. If some people want to stay and keep working, let them do so.

10. Do you need to meet regularly?

If you are going to have a follow-up meeting after this one, think about whether meeting together on a regular basis would be fruitful for everyone. That way, people can make room for the meeting as well as stay in sync when it comes to related actions, issues, and insights.

The best way to improve your meetings is by being a good leader. Follow the principles of good leadership and you’ll master meetings in no time.

Here’s a question for you: do you know what’s the difference between a meeting runner and a meeting leader?