A recent article in Entrepreneur Magazine says organized employees are more successful. That said, the next time you’re in charge of running a meeting, consider putting in a few minutes of planning first. It’s the planning and organization of the meeting that leaves attendees feeling like their time was well spent and that the organizer (YOU) respected not just their insights and contributions, but their time as well. Below are tips for leading meetings that are purposeful, inspiring and successful.
- Send out an invite and share the agenda in advance.
When hosting, track who can make it and who can’t. It’s the absentees who will need to be briefed after the meeting. Be sure to send all invitees the agenda and notes from the meeting to keep them in the loop. In the invite, share the objectives and agenda for the meeting, and send the dial-in/Skype/Webex, etc. details to those participating. Go one step further and send a reminder invite with the agenda a second time. This may eliminate wasting the first few minutes of the meeting catching everyone up to speed. One final point: according to research published from the Journal of Organizational Behavior, sticking to a set agenda and not letting the meeting run overtime is something that keeps employees engaged, motivated and interested, not to mention respected.
- Confirm logistics with attendees.
Whether the meeting is face-to-face, via conference call, through video conference/Skype, or a combination of these, make sure a conference line or space is properly reserved or make sure a room is booked, if you are video-conferencing. Also, double-check that the sound and video quality are meeting-ready. Whether it’s printed materials, charts, or a power-point presentation, make sure you have technology needs in queue and your materials are ready, collated and complete. If you’re using Skype or Webex, be sure you tell attendees at the start of the call to click into the link you’ve provided in the meeting invite.
- Introduce attendees and explain their roles.
Can’t tell you how many meetings that I’ve attended where the facilitator/organizer jumps right into the agenda without introducing the meeting attendees on the call. Because a meeting is an exchange of ideas and strategies, it’s very important to share the names, and areas of responsibilities of the people who are invited to your meeting. Don’t assume that everyone knows one another. If appropriate, it may be beneficial to provide a short summary of their role in the project.
- Delegate what needs to be done.
As the project lead, the meeting is the ideal time to explain what needs to be done and delegate to those on the team. According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, effective leaders not only have to feel confident about the people they have on the team, they need to trust their abilities. When you show your colleague you believe in their compentancy, they are more likely to rise to your expectations.
- Discuss what happens next.
Before ending the meeting, poll the attendees and make sure everyone is clear on steps moving forward. Let them know you will be follow-up with meeting minutes and a list of actions. An article in Inc. Magazine says that unless a follow-up plan is discussed, team members could feel disconnected from the project and unsure of their role and could cause the project or initiative to wander off course.
Author: Erica Lamberg