Many people think leading a meeting means reading out the agenda – if there is even one! Below are some principles; which if followed can result in meeting excellence and meeting objectives being achieved.
No place for ego. As the Chair Person you are the facilitator. Listen carefully, use open ended questions to obtain reasoning and to involve others.
No gadgets: State that no distractions will be tolerated e.g. cell phones and laptops. Ask to have these gadgets turned off at their outset. It’s hard to compete with human distractions, let alone electronic ones as well.
Be clear about the purpose of the meeting. Do you want to brainstorm possibilities? Identify implications of ideas already identified? Or determine detail?
Be prepared. Create the agenda, have supporting documents prepared. Circulate at least 24 hours in advance so that others are informed and prepared.
Introductions. Ensure all parties are introduced from the beginning, keep it short and simple. If an internal meeting where people don’t know each other, give the time frame e.g. “When introducing yourself give a brief outline of your job function in no more than a minute.”
Set clear objectives. “By the end of the meeting we need to have achieved … We are going to concentrate on principles today so let’s not elaborate on detail for the moment.”
Set out high expectations. Always start punctually. If you wait for late–comers–they will assume it is acceptable to be late. Be clear about end times too.
Involve all parties. If certain people are uninvolved or distracted–ask questions “Thuli–so what do you think about …?”
Keep the meeting on track. Identify how the minutes will be recorded, summarise the discussion, identify points for action, who will do what, the time scale for action, how things will be monitored and by whom and when.
Set the tone. Do not tolerate aggression, bullying. If colleagues are going to give of their best they need to know that all contributions are valued, that they will get credit for their ideas and that the whole organisation is strengthened by their collective success rather than scoring points off one another.
“A meeting is an event
where minutes are taken and hours wasted.”
James T. Kirk
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