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Just like a conductor is necessary to turn all of the different instruments into a beautiful symphony rather than a cornucopia of madness, so is the meeting planner of an organization necessary to conduct effective meetings. While meetings are necessary to communicate ideas, set goals, and create a plan of action, often times the participants leave feeling like they just left an unorganized jam session verses a well thought out symphony.
To aide those responsible for playing the role of “conductors”, we have created a few power tips for holding effective meetings:
1. An introduction with titles on all participants
A brief description of who is invited with their company position and reason for their participation communicates participants’ role clearly. It makes the introduction process flow smoother when everyone knows the decision makers and task makers. This can be distributed along with the agenda for everyone to review prior to the meeting.
2. An agenda that everyone has reviewed before the meeting
An agenda sets expectations and it is helpful to make it available for all participants to review before a meeting. Everyone can gather the necessary resources required to make the decisions and be familiar with the topic. Upon review, participants can make suggestions or adjustments to the agenda to better accomplish the desired goals.
3. Necessary resources and reports that will be referenced
Gathering the resources or reports that are needed to help with decisions and creating a plan of action makes meetings more efficient. Statistical data, current news on the subject matter, or financial reports that impact decisions further help to accomplish the goals of the meeting. Time well spent gathering this data will build credibility and goodwill among the participants involved.
4. A time limit
Communicating a time limit is courteous and helpful for participants to stay on track with their own job duties and responsibilities. It also helps participants know that a certain time frame is allotted so they can commit, therefore having better participation and attention. I have coached clients on how to perform meetings to discuss a reduction in force and even provide my clients with a clear, timed agenda for these meetings.
5. A conclusion that includes a plan of action
At the end of a meeting, everyone needs to have a clear understanding of the decision and the action plan. Conclude with stating the goals needed to be accomplished, who is responsible for the plan of action, how the tasks will be administered and a follow up meeting to discuss the results if necessary. These easy to administer guidelines will make a ho-hum meeting into an efficient and productive opportunity to accomplish the most difficult goals.
While there are a lot of moving parts to conducting effective meetings, just like a conductor – with a little practice, you’ll create a productive and powerful experience for all the participants involved.