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How to Conduct an Effective Meeting


No one enjoys a long, pointless gathering, yet that is what most meetings are. You can be the talk of the office by accomplishing the near impossible: conducting a productive and short meeting.

How to Conduct an Effective Meeting

Follow these simple steps and do a little planning to accomplish everything you want during a meeting.

  1. Pre-plan by determining who will be invited to the meeting, the purpose of the assembly, the topics to be covered and the information to be gathered and disseminated.

  2. Make a specific goal for the conference. Establish an overriding end result for the meeting. The end goal could be a brainstorming session, a product roll-out or a planning session for a new service.

  3. Write a precise agenda. Detail the important facts, listing the contact people, including the order of events and discussion and an action plan. A detailed agenda will allow the participants to have all the pertinent information at their fingertips and will keep the communication clear. If you find that the handout negates the need for the meeting, just email the handout and cancel the meeting.

  4. Distribute the agenda beforehand. Encourage attendees to jot down specific questions and to bring supporting material if the agenda triggers something.

  5. Welcome the attendees to the meeting and make sure everyone has their agenda in front of them. State the purpose of the meeting and the preset ending time.

  6. Start the discussion immediately, quickly establishing a strong leadership role. Redirect the conversation promptly if it gets off course. Stay on track and quickly hit the highlights and address questions.

  7. Have a separate time keeper keep the meeting on track. If there are three main points to discuss in an hour meeting, allot 20 minutes for each subject. Give a 5-minute warning as the ending time approaches. Wrap up the discussion and make notes of actions or correspondence that need to be taken later.

  8. Take notes on the agenda sheet. Write down any objections, additional information needed to be gathered, contact information and actions items.

  9. Summarize the key points as the meeting ends. Give everyone action assignments, such as managing further discussion, research or data gathered. Break the meeting on time and thank everyone for their contributions.

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