We understand that for a successful meeting to run smoothly you need to pick the right venue, have the required equipment, refreshments and catering that sustains the energy throughout the meeting. But once the doors are closed and the delegates are all seated, how do you get the most from the meeting?
Stay on target
Have a clear plan for the meeting, what needs to be achieved and make sure that everyone attending the meeting is on the same page. Prior to the meeting give notice of the objectives and the expected results, allowing attendees to prepare in advance. For example If you are looking to improve the quality of your service providers don’t waste time raising the topic at the meeting to be nodded at and kicked around, make sure that some solid contacts and references are brought to the meeting so immediate action can be taken.
Invite the right people
It is comforting to have people in front of you that will nod, laugh at your humour and agree to all the points of the meeting. But once the pens and pads are filed away in the delegates office drawers, did anything actually get achieved? Having the right people attend will make all the difference.
If you are meeting with many department heads and need to deal with issues specific with each department, don’t drag the rest of them along just so they can wait their turn. Rather break the meeting up into 15 minutes slots and deal with each separately, if there needs to be some cooperation or cohesion between departments then have the right people present for that specific aspect.
Stamp out the monopolisers
Participation at a meeting is fantastic, productive and insightful, especially when your participants are all decision makers. However, nothing kills the momentum and effectiveness of a meeting faster than a meeting hijacker. Be tactful and move the meeting on smartly, and you will avoid having to come back again to accomplish the original objectives of the initial meeting.
Keep track of the time
We all have our concentration limits and cramming too much into a meeting or dragging it out will be counterproductive. Break the sessions up into 60 minute slots, with short breaks for refreshments. Taking a break from hammering at an issue will allow the information to be digested and may foster some innovative solutions.
No handheld distractions
If people are allowed to bring their phones or tablets into a meeting (other than for presentation purposes) then there is a strong possibility that they will be sneaking a peek at their messages and getting distracted.
Follow up on the outcome
Put the main points of the meeting in writing, the decisions reached and the responsibilities assigned. Don’t wait for time to pass, make sure this is in their inboxes the following day of the meeting. Follow up on the memo to keep people on track.