Making the Most of Meetings

Reviewed Jan 22, 2019

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Summary

For the meeting facilitator:

  • Meet with all (and only) those necessary to do the job.
  • Start the meeting at the designated time.
  • Introduce meeting participants.

Meetings are a great way to share info and come up with ideas with members of your team about job developments. But, if they are not led well, they can be a waste of time. The success of a meeting depends not only on the skill of the leader, but also on the attentiveness of the listener.

Leaders

Here are guidelines for a meeting leader:

  • Meet with all (and only) those needed to do the job.
  • Start on time and make sure the meeting ends on time.
  • Introduce meeting participants. Have nametags if needed.
  • Make an agenda and stick to it. Use handouts if applicable.
  • Set up meeting rules (for example, no side conversations; stress promptness for all attendees).
  • Limit agenda items.
  • Avoid the urge to solve problems in the meeting (unless that is the agenda item).
  • Project your voice so that everyone can hear you.
  • Ask if anyone has questions at different points throughout the meeting. Look at the person who is speaking.
  • Involve everyone in the group. Turn to people who haven’t offered an opinion and ask for one.
  • Encourage other points of view, critical thinking, and constructive disagreement.
  • Keep visual aids simple.
  • Stay focused.
  • Record follow-up items.
  • Verify the next meeting date, time, place, and participants. Let everyone know that you have kept a list of items not covered that day, and that you will talk to them later.

For a meeting that has people joining by phone or video, remember to include them, too. Keep in mind that people who are on the phone can’t see what’s going on in the room, so they can’t see your gestures or visual aids.

As the meeting is ending, press for a conclusion. Use the last few moments to sum up highlights and decisions and restate all assignments and deadlines. End on a good note by thanking participants for being there and their contributions.

Attendees

Do

  • Be on time
  • Pay attention
  • Be prepared and know what it is you are expected to contribute
  • Take part in in the discussion
  • Be brief, to the point, focused, and polite in your comments

Don’t

  • Carry on side conversations
  • Make jokes that not everyone can understand. This is especially important if there are people on the phone. Remember that humor doesn’t always translate across phone lines.

Resources

Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery, second edition, by Garr Reynolds. New Riders Press, 2011.

Mind Tools
www.mindtools.com

Toastmasters International
www.toastmasters.org

By Amy Daugherty
Source: Communicating at Work: Improve Your Speaking, Listening, Presentation and Correspondence Skills to Get More Done and Get What You Want at Work by Tony Alessandra and Phil Hunsaker. Fireside Books, 1993; Making Successful Presentations: A Self-teaching Guide (second edition) by Terry C. Smith. John Wiley & Sons Inc., 1991.

Summary

For the meeting facilitator:

  • Meet with all (and only) those necessary to do the job.
  • Start the meeting at the designated time.
  • Introduce meeting participants.

Meetings are a great way to share info and come up with ideas with members of your team about job developments. But, if they are not led well, they can be a waste of time. The success of a meeting depends not only on the skill of the leader, but also on the attentiveness of the listener.

Leaders

Here are guidelines for a meeting leader:

  • Meet with all (and only) those needed to do the job.
  • Start on time and make sure the meeting ends on time.
  • Introduce meeting participants. Have nametags if needed.
  • Make an agenda and stick to it. Use handouts if applicable.
  • Set up meeting rules (for example, no side conversations; stress promptness for all attendees).
  • Limit agenda items.
  • Avoid the urge to solve problems in the meeting (unless that is the agenda item).
  • Project your voice so that everyone can hear you.
  • Ask if anyone has questions at different points throughout the meeting. Look at the person who is speaking.
  • Involve everyone in the group. Turn to people who haven’t offered an opinion and ask for one.
  • Encourage other points of view, critical thinking, and constructive disagreement.
  • Keep visual aids simple.
  • Stay focused.
  • Record follow-up items.
  • Verify the next meeting date, time, place, and participants. Let everyone know that you have kept a list of items not covered that day, and that you will talk to them later.

For a meeting that has people joining by phone or video, remember to include them, too. Keep in mind that people who are on the phone can’t see what’s going on in the room, so they can’t see your gestures or visual aids.

As the meeting is ending, press for a conclusion. Use the last few moments to sum up highlights and decisions and restate all assignments and deadlines. End on a good note by thanking participants for being there and their contributions.

Attendees

Do

  • Be on time
  • Pay attention
  • Be prepared and know what it is you are expected to contribute
  • Take part in in the discussion
  • Be brief, to the point, focused, and polite in your comments

Don’t

  • Carry on side conversations
  • Make jokes that not everyone can understand. This is especially important if there are people on the phone. Remember that humor doesn’t always translate across phone lines.

Resources

Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery, second edition, by Garr Reynolds. New Riders Press, 2011.

Mind Tools
www.mindtools.com

Toastmasters International
www.toastmasters.org

By Amy Daugherty
Source: Communicating at Work: Improve Your Speaking, Listening, Presentation and Correspondence Skills to Get More Done and Get What You Want at Work by Tony Alessandra and Phil Hunsaker. Fireside Books, 1993; Making Successful Presentations: A Self-teaching Guide (second edition) by Terry C. Smith. John Wiley & Sons Inc., 1991.

Summary

For the meeting facilitator:

  • Meet with all (and only) those necessary to do the job.
  • Start the meeting at the designated time.
  • Introduce meeting participants.

Meetings are a great way to share info and come up with ideas with members of your team about job developments. But, if they are not led well, they can be a waste of time. The success of a meeting depends not only on the skill of the leader, but also on the attentiveness of the listener.

Leaders

Here are guidelines for a meeting leader:

  • Meet with all (and only) those needed to do the job.
  • Start on time and make sure the meeting ends on time.
  • Introduce meeting participants. Have nametags if needed.
  • Make an agenda and stick to it. Use handouts if applicable.
  • Set up meeting rules (for example, no side conversations; stress promptness for all attendees).
  • Limit agenda items.
  • Avoid the urge to solve problems in the meeting (unless that is the agenda item).
  • Project your voice so that everyone can hear you.
  • Ask if anyone has questions at different points throughout the meeting. Look at the person who is speaking.
  • Involve everyone in the group. Turn to people who haven’t offered an opinion and ask for one.
  • Encourage other points of view, critical thinking, and constructive disagreement.
  • Keep visual aids simple.
  • Stay focused.
  • Record follow-up items.
  • Verify the next meeting date, time, place, and participants. Let everyone know that you have kept a list of items not covered that day, and that you will talk to them later.

For a meeting that has people joining by phone or video, remember to include them, too. Keep in mind that people who are on the phone can’t see what’s going on in the room, so they can’t see your gestures or visual aids.

As the meeting is ending, press for a conclusion. Use the last few moments to sum up highlights and decisions and restate all assignments and deadlines. End on a good note by thanking participants for being there and their contributions.

Attendees

Do

  • Be on time
  • Pay attention
  • Be prepared and know what it is you are expected to contribute
  • Take part in in the discussion
  • Be brief, to the point, focused, and polite in your comments

Don’t

  • Carry on side conversations
  • Make jokes that not everyone can understand. This is especially important if there are people on the phone. Remember that humor doesn’t always translate across phone lines.

Resources

Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery, second edition, by Garr Reynolds. New Riders Press, 2011.

Mind Tools
www.mindtools.com

Toastmasters International
www.toastmasters.org

By Amy Daugherty
Source: Communicating at Work: Improve Your Speaking, Listening, Presentation and Correspondence Skills to Get More Done and Get What You Want at Work by Tony Alessandra and Phil Hunsaker. Fireside Books, 1993; Making Successful Presentations: A Self-teaching Guide (second edition) by Terry C. Smith. John Wiley & Sons Inc., 1991.

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