There’s one particular secret to effective meetings: establish an agenda and stick to it. The schedule pushes the content material and results associated with conference and, exactly where suitable, should mirror the requirements of all attendees so we have all a buy-in and a desire for the outcomes. Follow these easy steps for planning and working meetings and you will be surprised at everything you can achieve. And, just in case not everybody in your organization is following these steps to great meetings, I’ve included some key questions you should ask before you accept any meeting invitation…yes, you do have an alternative and you can say no if joining within the meeting is not the most effective utilization of some time.
Prior to the Meeting
Circulate an agenda. Never schedule a meeting without making it clear to your attendees what the purpose, timeframe and outcomes for the meeting will likely be. Send out a draft agenda to any or all who’ll be attending. If appropriate, ask with regards to their input to refine, add or delete agenda items. Revise and re-send the final agenda a single day before the meeting to any or all planning to attend. This way we have all notice associated with the meeting content, the opportunity to put their own issues and interests from the table, and time to prepare.
Phone ahead. Call the meeting attendees (or your key contact) a single day before to confirm the meeting time, location, number of people attending (and their names and titles) and accessibility to any resources you may need for your presentation.
Who’s in charge? Find out who the decision makers are – this will help you to direct your attention toward the key players along with to get a feel when it comes to progress of this meeting based on their input and responses.
Throughout the Meeting
Start with the agenda. Just before open your laptop or launch into the presentation, take a couple of minutes to create up an agenda that everybody can see. This can be far more appropriate in creative or free-flowing meeting environments as opposed to formal meetings where last minute additions to your agenda might not be at all welcomed.
Make use of your pre-meeting agenda as a base and give people the chance to suggest any last minute topic areas or refinements. Write their responses on a whiteboard or piece of paper taped to a wall, using different coloured pens or initials to indicate which input belongs to which person. This allows you to definitely quickly identify what is important to different individuals – and if you’ve identified the decision makers – what they’re particularly interested in. Some people can be surprised at the possibility to contribute in this way, so allow time for people to consider their responses.
Keep asking. You might need to continue asking, “will there be anything else?” If everyone says no, and you suspect there could be something that has remained unsaid, ask, “If there was something different, what would it be?” This provides everyone permission to imagine laterally, to ‘imagine’ other items which they might not have yet thought of, or wanted to suggest.
Hidden agendas. In most meetings there are many agendas – the stated agenda and also the hidden agendas of this individuals attending – what exactly is it which they wish to get out from the meeting for themselves? It’s quite easy to find out – just ask the question – “What other agendas are there for this meeting?” Alternatively you might state, “There always is apparently another agenda with most meetings I attend, will there be another agenda today?” It is important to find out if there are other drivers, decision-making criteria or concerns before you begin the meeting.
Global vs local. Review the agenda to identify global (strategic) and local (specific) items. Make note of whom they are part of and address these problems to their ‘owners’ throughout the meeting.
This agenda-setting process may seem long, but it is so valuable. Setting effective agendas for meetings demonstrates that you value the attendees’ time and that you want to cover information and content that is relevant to them. Once your agenda is scheduled it’s possible to speed up the meeting by addressing each item, focusing your presentation on the aspects most significant to your audience and demonstrating respect for their issues, concerns and feelings.
Check the time. Make sure you always begin (no matter whether we have all arrived) and finish meetings on time and at the start of the meeting confirm the actual quantity of time available with the attendees, “Do we now have until 1.00pm together today?” This provides everyone the opportunity to confirm their availability when it comes to duration for the meeting, or even alert you if they need to leave early. This is often crucial information – it allows you prioritise your agenda items to ensure you spend time from the right topics, as the right people are still in the room. By always starting and finishing on time people will learn what to anticipate and then make an additional effort to also be on time, rather than risk missing out on content or perhaps the embarrassment of coming in when the meeting has started.
How are you feeling? You should get a feeling of how people are feeling about the meeting – including their investment of time, anticipation as to what would be discussed or what the outcomes may be as well as their concerns about issues affecting them. It’s possible to achieve this simply by asking, “How is everyone feeling about today’s meeting? Are there any issues or concerns?” In business we do not always take time to acknowledge the feelings that enter a meeting, but feelings affect decision-making.
Take note. Ensure that someone has been because of the task of taking minutes, notes, or simply recording action items throughout the meeting – and make sure these are distributed promptly, within 24-hours for the meeting is ideal. In the event that meeting is fairly informal it might even be appropriate to photocopy the minute-taker’s notes because the meeting is winding-up and give a duplicate to any or all before they leave. Avoid the extra work of typing minutes unless it is absolutely necessary.
Questions to ask before accepting a meeting
Exactly what are we doing? What is the agenda when it comes to meeting? Avoid time-wasting meetings by not accepting invitations to meetings that do not have a clear agenda.
Who else is originating? Ask this question to make sure that the meeting is scheduled at the right level for your needs and that the right people are involved.
What am I able to do? Find out why you’re being invited into the meeting. Make sure there is a good reason behind you to definitely attend.
What time? Be strict along with your time. Find out what time the meeting is set to begin and finish. Make sure you are on time and in the event that meeting looks like going over, let people know that you’ll be leaving at the allocated finishing time.
Is it necessary? Where possible, only attend for your section of this agenda. Don’t sit through unnecessary meeting discussions waiting to arrive at the part that concerns you.
What’s required? Find out everything you have to prepare beforehand. If you do not have to prepare anything, make sure you are clear about why your presence is necessary.
Where could it be? Ask for clear instructions including the address, floor number and meeting room number in order to prevent wasting time looking for the meeting venue. If possible, get a contact telephone number you are able to call if you are delayed or having trouble finding the location.
Can we teleconference? It’s not always necessary to be there in person – can you save the travel some time teleconference instead?
What’s next? At the end of the meeting (or at the conclusion of the section you’re staying for) find out when minutes and action plans will be available.
Here is preview of a Free Sample Official Meeting Agenda Template created using MS Word,
Here is download link for this Official Meeting Agenda Template,