Estimated reading time: 3 mins
As someone who runs many meetings, both in my professional and personal life, I know all too well how important they are to the success of any project. Whether you’re in charge of a company, organization, club, or just having a get-together with friends, running a successful meeting is essential. In this article, I’m going to share some of the tips and tricks I’ve learnt over the years on how to run a meeting that will ensure everyone leaves feeling productive and happy.
- Preparation Is Key Before you can even begin to think about running a successful meeting, you need to prepare for the meeting. Firstly, decide if it’s necessary to have an actual meeting. And consider whether it could be done via email or other methods of communication such as phone calls or video chat. If it’s decided that an in-person gathering is best for your situation then there are several things you should consider before getting started. Firstly, determine who needs to be at the meeting and send out invitations accordingly. Be sure to include topics that will be discussed during the meeting so attendees can come prepared with any questions or comments they may have. You should also create an agenda ahead of time which includes all topics that will be covered as well as start and end times for each topic. This will help keep everyone on track during the meeting and make sure no one goes off on tangents. Finally, decide what materials are needed for each topic (if applicable) so everyone can get up to speed beforehand and make the most out of their time at the meeting.
- Start On Time And End On Time Once your guests have arrived at the meeting it’s important that you start promptly. But don’t rush through anything either; a rushed presentation can easily lead to confusion amongst attendees and result in a less productive outcome than desired. You should also make sure you stick to your predetermined end time for each topic as this shows respect for people’s time and lets them know that their input is valued even if it doesn’t fit into the allotted timeframe given for the discussion at hand.
- Facilitate Discussion & Encourage Participation It’s your job as the facilitator of a meeting to ensure everyone feels comfortable enough to contribute their ideas without fear of judgement or ridicule from others in attendance – this is especially true if there are new faces present! Make sure everyone has an opportunity to speak by encouraging participation (by asking individuals directly if they would like to add anything) but don’t let anyone dominate conversations either! If someone does take up too much time rambling on about something unrelated then politely remind them of the agenda items still left on your list so we can move onto those instead! Additionally, don’t become defensive when criticizing others’ ideas during discussions. Remember that constructive feedback is essential in order for teams/groups/etc…to become better!
- Summarize Before Ending The Meeting Before ending the meeting make sure you summarize what was discussed. This ensures everyone is clear on what was agreed upon. It also clarifies any action items left unresolved that must be addressed outside of this particular gathering (or put onto next week’s agenda!). It’s also helpful if possible assign tasks/responsibilities within groups so people know what needs doing afterwards without having wait until another follow-up email is sent out later on down the line! This saves both time and energy!
- Follow Up After The Meeting Once everyone has gone home don’t forget about them after they leave – follow up with emails summarizing any decisions made during discussions and task assignments given out so nothing gets forgotten about due dates etc… Additionally send thank you notes after meetings to show appreciation for people taking their valuable time out attend – regardless if their contribution was big or small – goes along way towards making people feel valued which helps build relationships between colleagues/friends alike which ultimately increases productivity within teams/groups etc…
Hopefully these few tips help improve your next group gathering! Meetings aren’t always easy but with proper preparation, respect for participants’ time, facilitation techniques aimed at allowing all voices heard equally while keeping discussions focused on set goals -you’ll be able create more productive outcomes all around!