Leading a meeting is not always easy. People are notorious for disliking meetings, skipping them and not paying attention when they do attend. If you have to lead a meeting, implementing several common-sense steps will ensure the conclusion among your attendees that your meeting was worthwhile and effectively led.
Disclose the meeting’s date and time well in advance so attendees can keep their schedules clear. Also, send an email reminder the day before. Finally, an announcement on the intercom 15 minutes before is helpful. This minimizes the likelihood of anyone forgetting to attend.
Start on time. This shows respect to the punctual people. Acknowledge latecomers with a nod, if at all. No mention needs to be made of lateness during the meeting.
Arrange your technology in advance and ensure all is in working order. Nothing is worse for attendees than to watch you struggle with your laptop link for 15 minutes.
Have an agenda, keep it as short as possible and stick to it. Email the agenda in advance so attendees can think about it. At the meeting, if someone strays from the agenda, say, "Let's think about putting that concern on the agenda for our next meeting."
Make sure the purpose of your meeting is very clear. The agenda should help with this but you need to further clarify. Ensure it is understood whether your purpose is to solve a problem, discuss options or conduct training. Make sure everyone knows exactly why they are present.
Remember that people learn in different ways. Use a variety of media — visual, auditory, even physical activities — to convey your points.
Ask for people to write down any additional ideas they had relating to the topic and leave them in a stack on their way out at the end of the meeting. Later, provide each attendee a hard copy of the meeting minutes or instead email.
If the meeting is going to be longer than 30 minutes, consider putting some chocolates on the tables for attendees.
Avoid getting off topic. This is one of the top reasons that people feel meetings are a waste of time.
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