How To Run A Meeting
How To Run A Meeting
Meetings can be an incredibly productive way of making decisions, planning for the future or communicating to a group of people at once. We'll show you how to run an effective meeting.
Step 1: Preparation
First establish why you need to hold the meeting. What are your aims? What do you need the meeting to achieve? Make a list of your targets for the meeting, and write an agenda of the items you need to tackle during the meeting. It's a good idea to send this out to your colleagues beforehand so they know what to expect.
Step 2: A facilitator
An effective meeting needs someone to act as referee. They are there to keep the meeting on track and make sure everyone's sticking to the agenda. Ideally they should be impartial - if this can't be you, rope in a colleague: it could be anyone.
Step 3: Room layout
Make sure everyone can see everyone else, and choose a layout that doesn't reinforce hierarchy - this could give an unfair advantage to those of a higher rank. Everyone should feel able to speak freely. A U-shape arrangement is perfect, with facilitator at gap in the U.
Step 4: Timing
If you schedule your meeting to begin on the hour, the chances are people will drift in, grab a coffee, have a chat, eat a biscuit, compare plans for the weekend, and generally bunk off for at least ten minutes before you're able to begin.
Instead, schedule it for an off-hour time, say ten past two instead of two o' clock. This simple psychological trick will encourage punctuality and means you can start on time. You should also have an enforced cut off point to close the meeting. This will reduce dithering and keep you on task.
Step 5: Icebreaker
If some members of the group haven't met, run through some group introductions. Go round the group and get people to introduce themselves with who they are, what they do, and something silly to help break the ice. Embarrassing stories are always good for this - get everyone to say the first record they ever bought , or their favourite guilty pleasure...
Step 6: The hangar
You have a definite purpose for your meeting, but, pesky free-thinking individuals that they are, your employees will want to talk about things that aren't on your agenda. Have a separate piece of paper available where you can write down and store off-topic ideas for discussion later. This will help people feel they have been listened to, while keeping the meeting on task.
Step 7: The 5-minute bell
There's always one who's tempted to talk... and talk... and talk... at great length about their pet subject - while you want to give everyone the chance to speak. Give everyone the chance to call time on anyone who speaks for more than five minutes. Bring a bell into the meeting, position it at the front of the room, and encourage people to ring it if the old moaner - or anyone - goes on for too long.
Step 8: Minutes
During the meeting you should have someone taking notes on what's been discussed and agreed. Once the meeting is over, have someone write these up and email them to everyone so they know that what they've said has been recorded. Also keep people informed of the outcome of the meeting and what action has been taken on the decisions you made.