How many bad meetings have you sat through? You know the ones – they chew up time, head off track and bore you silly. Good meetings are the opposite. They’re the ones that engage and motivate, and make you glad you attended. Whether you have one a day or one a month, meetings are a standard part of most workplaces, so if you’re running one, use these tips to make it a success.

  1. Meet for a reason
    There’s nothing worse than attending a meeting that’s unnecessary and irrelevant to you. Many meetings aren’t meetings at all, but monologues that could be better communicated via email. Before scheduling your meeting, make sure it’s worth holding and only invite those who need to be there.
  2. Establish an agenda
    Meetings need structure and purpose, otherwise they veer off track and chew up valuable time. One of the best ways to stay focused is to set an agenda – and stick to it. Draw up an agenda and share it with all attendees, preferably before the meeting. That way, everyone will have a clear understanding of the meeting’s objectives.
  3. Remember the clock
    Most of us are too busy and time poor, especially at work, so make sure your meeting has a clear start and finish time and respect these limits. If some members are running late, start the meeting anyway and fill them in later – you’ll avoid inconveniencing those who are punctual. Also, consider appointing a timekeeper and if you feel the meeting may run late, request extra time or schedule a catch-up.
  4. Take charge
    Successful meetings have a strong leader who can maintain focus and keep the group engaged. While you may not be a confident public speaker, you can drive a productive meeting by being prepared. Before the meeting, organise your props (whiteboards, data projectors, beverages, etc.), appoint a timekeeper and minute taker, and create extra copies of the agenda to keep everyone on track.
  5. Stay focused
    Use the agenda to govern the meeting and stay on task. If you find the group becomes preoccupied with a side issue, ask whether the issue warrants immediate attention or whether it would be better left for another meeting.
  6. Involve the group
    Although it’s important to lead the group, it’s also important to give members a voice – you’ve invited them for a reason, so make sure they play a part in the discussion. Encourage the quiet ones to contribute and don’t let the overbearing ones dominate. After all, workers like to feel valued and included.
  7. Close the meeting
    At the end of the meeting, it’s worth giving a quick recap to ensure everyone is aware of what they need to do before the next meeting. Shortly after the meeting, circulate the minutes, with everyone’s responsibilities and deadlines stated clearly.

Bad meetings don’t have to be the norm at your workplace. With a bit of care, you can perfect the art of running a great meeting – your colleagues will thank you for it!

Resource: Australian Corporate Wellness: People, Culture, Wellness. Online Portal – Healthlogix.

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