When I started at Schneider as an intern in May 1997, I was new to the business world. However, I felt like I had experience running meetings with my many years of being the president of student organizations in high school.
I found that leading meetings with students in a classroom setting was much different than leading a meeting with a group of business professionals that had experience well beyond me. Through trial and error, along with some excellent guidance with my leaders throughout the years, I now can run an effective meeting.
Here are my six effective meeting guidelines, so you too can run a productive meeting.
Effective meeting guidelines
1. Make your objective clear
Be sure to create an agenda and post it prior to the meeting so everyone in attendance understands the objectives of the meeting and can prepare for it ahead of time.
2. Invite the right people
Limit the number of people attending and be sure that all involved has a purpose in being there. Meetings can derail quickly if the right people are not involved in the discussion.
Be sure the right people are involved in the first meeting so you are not spending a lot of time getting new attendees ‘up to speed’ during the next one.
3. Stick to your schedule
Make your time together count by starting on time and ending on time. In our busy worlds, time is hard to find, so be sure your meeting time is fully used. Consider asking a colleague to be a time keeper.
4. Stay on target
Your credibility as the group leader will be lost if the meeting does not remain focused and on task. This can be difficult when an attendee strays off the agenda or brings up other information not pertinent to the meeting. You may need to ask them to talk with you at a different time or add that topic to a future agenda.
5. Limit technology
In an age where technology is everywhere, it can be very distracting to the attendees. Ask that only the note keeper is using technology and others put their laptops, phones, etc. away. If they don’t, you can guarantee you are not getting their full attention
6. Follow up
At the end of the meeting, make a follow-up plan. Let attendees know when the next meeting will be scheduled, what they need to be prepared for and where the notes from this meeting will be housed.
I recommend using a tool such as One Note for creating meeting agendas, taking notes and storing documents so the group can review the information at any time.
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