At some point most people will have to run some kind of meeting at least once in their life, and it can be a daunting task. For many people, this doesn’t come naturally with much confidence, but everyone has the ability to strengthen their speaking skills and practice effective ways to make sure the meeting runs smoothly. Below are some methods on how to conduct a meeting well and get the most out of it.
10 Tips on How to Conduct a Meeting Effectively
Take Time to Prepare
Being prepared means having your thoughts organized and expectations for the meeting outlined. Creating an agenda for the meeting can help you keep track of your goals and create structure, which will also help the members of the meeting know what to expect. It can be helpful to send out the agenda to everyone beforehand or bringing copies to the actual meeting so that everyone is on the same page.
Be On Time
One of the most important aspects of running a meeting is being professional and creating a productive environment. Being late might make the members think you’re unprepared or don’t take the meeting seriously, and in turn they might not take the meeting seriously either. This also cuts out precious time that you should be spending on your agenda and important material.
Be Courteous and Welcoming
Most of the time, meetings feel like a chore, but if you create a warm environment, then the people who attend are more likely to get more out of the experience. Starting the meeting with some excitement can get the others excited to participate, and ending the meeting with a big thank you and appreciation can make them feel better about their participation. This is key if you plan on having more meetings because they will look forward to the next one rather than dread it.
Send Out Reminders
As the leader of the meeting, everyone will be expecting you to keep them updated on what to do. Make sure to send out reminders about the time and place to ensure that everyone knows what’s going on. If you have any expectations of the people attending the meeting or want them to prepare, this is the time to make sure that everyone knows what they need to do before the meeting happens.
Have a Helpful Moderator
When you are thinking about how to conduct a meeting, don’t forget one thing: you are going to need a moderator. It’s easy for a meeting to get derailed or off topic, so having an effective moderator can help keep everyone on track or move the conversation along if it reaches a stand-still. Part of the moderator’s job is to address the agenda so that everyone knows what is to be discussed along with the overall goal of the meeting and also keep track of any time restraints.
Encourage Contribution from Everyone
Meetings are the most effective when everyone is allowed to freely contribute. Encourage everyone to share their ideas while also making sure that no one person is dominating the conversation or blocking out what others have to say. If no one is contributing, then try providing some helpful brainstorming activities. There needs to be a balance though between sharing ideas and also staying on topic as outlined by the agenda.
Provide Summaries of Key Points
It’s easy to have a long, productive discussion and then feel a little lost at the end. After a key topic on your agenda has been covered and no one has anything else to say, sum up the discussion and your expectations or the target outcomes so that everyone knows the importance of what they just talked about. Do ask if there are any questions or anyone needs clarification to make sure the discussion is as effective as possible.
Have a Means of Voting
Sometimes it’s necessary for a vote to take place during a meeting, so make sure that you’ve thought about any points that need to be voted on and how you intend to carry out this voting. Two simple ways to do this effectively is either by a show of hands or a secret ballot if privacy is an issue.
Avoid Side Conversations
Here comes another important thing to remember when you are learning how to conduct a meeting effectively. That is, try avoiding any kind of side conversation. It’s important for everyone to be on the same page during the meeting at all times. Having side conversations pop up can distract from the overall discussion. This should be a group effort!
Establish What Comes Next
This meeting has a goal or end result, so make sure that everyone is aware of what that point is, how it’s been dealt with, and what they need to do next. Even if you just end with an open question that leaves everyone thinking about what they’ve just discussed, this provides some sort of closure. If another meeting is the next step, make sure to announce that now while you have everyone’s attention.