Five steps to ensure a successful meeting

Meetings are a powerful tool that are widely misunderstood. Given the frustration most people feel when their time is wasted, gaining a reputation for running efficient and successful meetings is good for you and your career.

Running a successful meeting is more than sending out a notice that your team is to meet at a particular time and place. It need structure and order and without these elements, they can drag on and not accomplish a thing. Here are five steps to accomplish this goal:

1. Make your objective clear

Too often, people call meetings to discuss something without really considering what a good outcome would be. A successful meeting serves a useful purpose. This means that in it, you achieve a desired outcome. To help you determine what the objective is, complete this sentence: At the close of this meeting, I want the group to…

2. Consider who is invited

When you’re calling a meeting, take time to consider who really needs to be there. The people in attendance make or break your effectiveness and the success of the meeting in general. If you’re announcing a change, invite the people who are affected by the announcement. If you’re trying to solve a problem, invite the people who will be good sources of information for a solution.

3. Open the meeting with a positive round

Psychological experiments have shown the way a meeting starts sets the tone for the rest of the meeting. If you want energy and engagement from your team, you need to embody those qualities while they walk through those doors. By opening with complaints, problems and mutual blame, those issues will be what you’ll get. But, if you start out with something positive, the rest of the meeting is more likely to be more fun.

4 .Use time wisely

People appreciate it when you understand their time is valuable, which is why starting on time and ending on time will quickly enhance your reputation as an organised person. If you are running large or complex meetings, consider asking a colleague to serve as time keeper.

5. Follow up

The art and science of follow up is a vital professional habit and it also matters in the context of successful meetings. It is quite common for people to come away from the same meeting with very different interpretations of what went on. To reduce this risk, email a summary highlighting what was accomplished to all who attended within 24 hours after the meeting. It’s important to document the following:

  • the responsibilities given
  • the tasks delegated
  • assigned deadlines.

Successful meetings can be a source of creativity and motivation – a time when team collaboration and leadership combine and create the space for achieving organisational goals. With a solid objective in mind, a tight agenda and a commitment to involving the participants, you are well on your way to chairing a successful meeting.

Belinda Lyone, General Manager, COS Working Spaces

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