Today’s guest contributor is Cameron Herold, an executive passionate about good meetings, educator, speaker, driving force behind the growth of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? and author of Double Double. Cameron stepped into leadership young, beginning his first business at age 21.
If that’s so, I have good news for you because it doesn’t have to be this way.
Meetings don’t have to be terrible.
We can make them better experiences for our employees by improving our leadership skill of running a meeting.
If we follow five simple steps to improve how we run our meetings, we will make better use of the time spent in meetings, enhance employee morale, and increase productivity in the process.
5 things to do to run a better meeting
1) Have an agenda.
Meetings that happen without having a clear agenda tend to get off track easily. Failing to define the purpose of a meeting results in having attendees who really don’t need to be there and who could be making a bigger impact by staying at their desk to work on important projects.
Create a concise agenda that includes the main purpose of the meeting, possible outcomes, and action items to be covered. An agenda prevents the meeting from being hijacked by some random topic. In addition, it allows more introverted team members to prepare what they want to say. Many introverts won’t chime in when they don’t know the agenda ahead of time, which means some great ideas could be missed.
2) Determine a meeting style.
There are three styles of meetings:
- Information sharing. In an information-share meeting, the information flows in one direction. Either employees tell the leadership something, or senior management has something to say to employees.
- Creative discussions are brainstorming sessions. People toss out ideas without any judgments made about feasibility or validity, and decisions come later.
- Consensus-decision meetings are held when a decision is needed.
3) Start on time and end early.
If you scheduled the meeting for 10 AM, start promptly at 10 AM to show respect for people’s times and to set the right example. If you can’t start a meeting on time, why would it be any different for anything else that’s going on in a company?
End your meetings five minutes early. Doing so gives people time to grab a cup of coffee, check emails, go to the restroom, or chat with colleagues before their next meeting.
4) Foster useful communication.
Some people talk a lot in every meeting. Others rarely speak. For a meeting to be successful, get everyone engaged. Foster dialogue with newcomers or quiet people first, and then go around the table, moving up in seniority as you solicit feedback or ideas. Also, make sure people are not distracted because they are responding to email on their cell phones or laptops.
5) Know your role.
Every meeting should have a chair, a timekeeper, participants, and a closer.
- The chair announces the type of meeting it is and makes sure everyone sticks with the agenda. The chair is tasked with keeping the meeting from going sideways.
- The timekeeper does what the name implies, making sure everyone stays on schedule and that no one lingers too long on any one point.
- The participants should not be passive observers. They need to arrive prepared to contribute and to remain interested throughout the meeting.
- The closer generally is going to be the chair. Meetings should always end with the chair posing the question: “Who’s doing what, and by when.” Closing in this manner assures that each person acknowledges his or her assignment and his or her deadline for achieving it.
Employee frustration will drop drastically if you can keep meetings focused on the task and avoid wasting time. You’ll get more done, get it done faster, and involve fewer people.
What has been your biggest pet peeve about meeting time wasters?