The meeting revolves in circles stuck on the same question; the meeting that is a two way conversation with eight other listeners; or the meeting where everyone is thinking to themselves: What are we trying to accomplish? Meetings, many times, are considered a productivity killer but are the most essential medium to organize your team, convey an idea, and execute a plan. Here is a framework and tips to run an effective, efficient meeting that leaves your team members feeling inclusive, engaged, and excited about the next goal ahead!
Before the Meeting Starts
1. Communicate your objective clearly. A meeting needs to have a vision, a target, or a goal to accomplish for participants to commit their time, buy-in on the idea, and volunteer their support. Drafting an agenda will help show context of the objective and set expectations up front.
- Know your audience. After envisioning the goal you want to accomplish and knowing the sequence of your agenda, you should ask yourself: Who do I need in this conversation and who may benefit? Including too few of the right attendees will result in many follow-ups, whereas too many attendees will dilute the importance and intimacy of the topic(s).
- Manage your timing. In today’s busy and technological world our calendars become full days in advance. Depending on the amount of time required, send out your meeting invitation one to two weeks in advance. Be sure to send out a ‘friendly reminder’ 24 hours in advance to ensure high participation.
During the Meeting
- Assign a facilitator. This person’s goal is to empower your team to have trust, act with accountability, and be results oriented. On paper, this is accomplished by following the agenda, taking detailed notes, and managing time to end on schedule. Off paper, focus on being firm in a tactful manner when discussing ideas and options. Be objective by clearly stating the options, state the pros and cons, ask for candid feedback, and pose questions in form of ‘why?’ to get to the deeper meaning and/or value.
- Articulate next steps. A goal without a plan is just an idea, and a plan without action is a wish. Make your next steps short term and attainable such that you feel comfortable committing to a specific due date. Every task is best to have one owner to draw the line for direct accountability. Last but not least, always end your meeting in summary by clearly stating next steps and repeating the task, the owner, and the due date.
After the Meeting Ends
- Follow up. The most important requirement of meetings is to have all team members leave being on the same page. Meetings (especially over telephone) can leave ambiguity and lack of direction of tasks and ownership. Maintain your momentum and effectiveness by emailing all attendees within 24 hours documenting conversation context and highlights, tasks delegated, responsibilities given, and any assigned deadlines.
Kevin is a Consultant with Slalom Consulting, a national firm focusing in areas of Business and Information Technology. Kevin has 5 years of experience consulting with Fortune 100 Healthcare and Pharmaceutical firms leveraging skills in project management, business analysis, and financial management. He began his career at Accenture after graduating from Marquette University in 2010 studying Finance and Economics as an Evans Scholar. In his free time Kevin enjoys cycling, photography, mentoring, and pursuing entrepreneurial opportunities. Kevin is currently the president of the Leadership Council for Evans Scholars Foundation.