You’re Invited – Best Meeting Practices
By Chris Jordan
Ding! A meeting invite pops up on your desktop calendar. Some employees dread this as an unnecessary waste of time, while others view it as an opportunity to contribute to the growth of the company. It is up to the meeting organizer to ensure that the time they have requested from everyone’s busy schedule is necessary, focused, includes the correct audience and ends with the proper goals in mind. Here are a few tips to keep your meetings creative and worthwhile:
A Beginning and an End
We’ve all been there. Sitting around the conference table staring out the window watching the day march on wondering when the last invitee will finally step in. Don’t let the energy drain from your meeting before it even begins. Companies must have discipline and mutual respect for each other. If a meeting is set for 8:00 AM and you accept, be there before the start time. Leaders must act as leaders and set the example. The coordinator should have a set end time as well. Be sure to keep a watchful eye on the clock and stick to it.
Have a Set Agenda
There is nothing worse than going into a conference not knowing why you are there. Everyone attending the meeting needs to know why they have been invited. Provide a handout with the agenda or write it on a whiteboard. If necessary, break down a timeline of specific topics to be discussed and adhere to it. Even better, send the outline in advance so people can be prepared for the meeting.
Who’s In, Who’s Out
The host of the meeting needs to determine who must attend and who may not be necessary, to match the agenda. Keep control of the size of your meeting and be sure to have key decision makers in attendance. Keep in mind, some people may come with their own goals. It is the steward’s responsibility to keep the correct balance of ideas coming and inspiring everyone to say what’s on their mind.
Stay on the Rails
Now that all the important people are assembled, make sure to keep your meeting on the tracks. If some people are logging in via video conference, be certain that you know how to use the necessary software tools to sign them in. If you don’t, ask for assistance from an associate that does. Don’t allow yourself to be embarrassed by wasting time trying to figure out what cord goes to what port or why you can’t hear the person on the other end of the call.
Meeting Over – Now What
The end of any meeting needs to have defined next steps, responsibilities and specific deadlines. Near the conclusion, appoint someone to keep track of who is accountable for what items and when they need to be accomplished. Any other uncovered items can be investigated further and the group can reconvene for follow up discussions.