How To Run An Effective Meeting
Updated: Jan 9, 2019
Undoubtedly, there are certain matters that can’t be solved through emails or instant messages in social networks or task manager software. Meetings are necessary - but, how you can run one without having your audience falling asleep in the first 5 minutes?
Well, first of all, you don’t run a meeting unless it is absolutely necessary. Meetings are made to discuss important issues concerning all members of the team. People have to feel they are able to contribute at some point of the meeting - if not, what’s the point of being there in the first place? Nobody likes wasting precious time that could have been better invested doing business.
The bottom line of running a successful meeting is to identify an appropriate time and who needs to be present.
Additionally, all the necessary tools that you are going to need for your meeting need to be present. This includes visual aids, enough room and chairs for all of the invited guests, telephone for a conference call, refreshments if the meeting is going to be a long one. All equipment and technology needs to be checked before hand that it is working so that you don't waste precious time during the meeting trying to get everything to work for you.
Once you know that, there are 3 stages on how to run a meeting that you should consider:
Before the meeting
Before the meeting starts, you should have clear what the goals are, the members of the team that are needed to assist and the topics to be discussed.
Defining meeting goals
Although each company works different, in general we can say there are 4 different types of meetings:
Let’s have a quick overview on each one of them.
Productivity meetings are called to evaluate the team results and find out if whether there is something that could have been done better. Productivity can be assessed during the project, at final stages or after it has been completed.
Every project manager needs to hold a regular meeting in order to check on the task status of team members. These meetings can be issued monthly, biweekly or weekly, depending on how complicated or demanding the activities taking part are.
During catch up meetings, managers and team leaders put their colleges up to date with the tasks they are currently in, possible difficulties in the future and how they are planning to face them.
A meeting is a good opportunity to present new information to your staff members. This may be a new employee to the team, clients, software, projects, anything that is new and that could add value to your employees by knowing this new information.
Role defining meetings are done at the start of the project. Here is when team members get assigned their obligations and to see with whom they will be working directly.
Meetings for new projects are usually connected with the ones to define the role of the team members. Still, there is the chance that new projects are coming down the pipeline, which people need to be aware of, but still it is unsure how the work will be divided and assigned.
Tools for the meeting
After you know the specific purpose of the meeting, the next step is defining the space and visual aids you need.
As we mentioned before choosing the right meeting room and space is key to ensure your team will be comfortable and 100% paying attention to the important points of the meeting.
A meeting room can’t be either too big or too small, and it should have enough space for everyone to take notes - if it is, for instance, a productivity or a role defining meeting.
Visual aids are a lifesaver for long or short meetings, they are easier to understand and later send to the participants. Boards, screens, plugs for laptops or any other device should be available during the meeting.
During the meeting
There are three variables actively affecting the success of a meeting:
The infrastructure of the room affects the acoustic and comfort of the people in it. Furthermore, bad acoustics require the speaker to talk louder, which may affect its tone, and therefore change the perception of the audience on the message. Make sure the meeting room is not close to traffic zone or places with a lot of noise, so the participants can hear what it is said.
The time of the meeting should be distributed in mainly two parts: time to explain the central topic and time to let members of the team inquire about what it is discussed. Sharing ideas or brainstorming about specific matters helps to grow sense of belonging to the company through participation.
Although the agenda of the reunion should be sent before it starts, at the beginning of the session the speaker should remind the audience what the main topics that will be discussed on that occasion are. This is an excellent practice to let the participants know the duration each point/topic, and allocate the time in the best way. At the end, how the agenda is distributed also affects the efficiency and final result of the session.
After the meeting has finished
Once the session is over, any type of follow up - emails or documents - should be given with the agreements reached, points discussed and maybe inquiries to solve from specific team members.
There needs to be a record on the system about that meeting - unfortunately for some people, reports are required to follow the progress and determine if whether the meeting was a success or not, and what should be improved for the future.
A good way to get feedback from the meeting is through anonymous surveys. In these reviews, participants should be able to feel free to give their opinions and which they believe was the most significant part of the meeting, and how they would make it more enjoyable or better.
Consequently, depending on the central topic of the meeting there should be a survey with specific questions, preferably short with straightforward answers.
Or read our guide on conference rooms available in Hallandale.