Sunday, April 14, 2013

10 Keys to a Good Meeting

As a owner of a business, member of an organization or volunteer with a nonprofit, there may come a point when you need to act as the leader for a meeting. Many times people leave a meeting feeling like it was a waste of time. Below are ten things to ensure that your meeting is productive, concise and ends in an hour.
  1. Start well. Every good meeting starts off with something to break the ice. Whatever the purpose of the meeting, find relevant ice breaker to get everyone involved. These can easily be found through a Google search.
  2. Be prepared. Send out the agenda and talking points before the meeting so everyone knows their roles and if they need to bring anything.
  3. Getting to know you. Introductions are key to any meeting. Make sure everyone at the table knows everyone else and identify everyone’s roles. Are there formal titles (Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, etc.) or less formal (include a timekeeper, scribe or monitor) or a combination of both?
  4. Set expectations. Have an agenda that identifies what the meeting intends to accomplish. This avoids the meeting for the sake of meeting problem.
  5. Be respectful. Everyone’s ideas are personal to them, so have consideration when critiquing the ideas. And always, always critique the idea, not the person.
  6. Stay focused. Only one person should be speaking at a time. This allows everyone to hear the ideas and know what may require their input or decision-making. Avoid side conversations since you may then have to repeat everything to the group as a whole in order to gain consensus.
  7. Encourage diverse ideas. There won’t always be only one way to accomplish your group’s goals, so make sure everyone has a chance to express their opinions. Who knows, maybe a combination of several ideas may provide the perfect solution.
  8. Create an action plan. Keep track of anything that must be done outside the meeting and assign the tasks to specific members.
  9. Have fun. This is definitely important in order to keep attendees coming back. Encourage participation, listen to each other and generally enjoy your time together.
  10. Document the meeting. Send out meeting minutes promptly after the meeting and include the action plan for everyone’s records. This will ensure that everyone is ready for the next meeting.
What are some things that help you stay on track when running a meeting?

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