A simple list for a good meeting. Start on time, prepare, follow an expected protocol and participate.
Certainly you have experienced both good and not so good meetings. And effective meetings are becoming even more challenging today with the opportunity for attendees to participate using the latest technology - skyping in your pj's anyone? Maybe you have seen the hysterical YouTube illustration "A Conference Call in Real Life" with Tripp and Tyler (if not, check it out). Regardless of the venue or the topic of your meeting, in order for it to be an effective one - if you are in charge of it - you should take charge of it!
Just like a scout, being prepared is critical to leadership. What is the goal of the meeting? How to accomplish the goals? Having an agenda, providing it to the group and staying on track will help focus the participants as well as set their expectations. Giving everyone a chance to prepare is just as important and providing the agenda in advance is just one simple step.
Starting and ending a meeting on time demonstrates that you value everyone's commitment to participate. How long should a meeting be in the first place? Set a time frame that is reasonable for the items to be discussed. Following Robert's Rules of Orders provides the opportunity to formalize the discussion and set a professional tone.
Creating an atmosphere where the attendees are comfortable to speak up is critical to having the meeting in the first place. Consider if the meeting is all one-sided, why not just send a directive memo instead or hold a formal training session? The reason to get together for a meeting is for the sharing of ideas as well as to communicate news and vote on action items. As a leader, maintaining the role as an impartial and assertive facilitator can help others contribute. By concluding and summarizing comments from the group, the leader can help to close the discussion and formulate an action if necessary.
As auditors, accountants and consultants we participate in many types of meetings - with clients, with prospects, with our colleagues - it seems sometimes all we do is attend meetings. Even meals have become meetings with an agenda - albeit some more formal than others. Not that this makes us experts at meetings, quite the contrary - we tend to be more critical of bad meetings and appreciative of the good ones. And when communications are clear, decisions are made or new perspectives are shared - a meeting can be an incredible tool to keep us engaged, motivated and connected.
For another post by Lynn, check out:
Program Related Investments: Gaining Momentum