Meetings are essential for teams to work efficiently. The type, length, and purpose can vary in several ways, but conducting an effective meeting relies on how prepared the meeting leader is. Here are questions you need to remember to guide you through conducting an effective meeting.
1. What is the meeting for?
Determining the purpose of the meeting will help you define the necessity of it. It is such a waste to sit down through an hour long meeting and realizing how pointless it is. Your meeting agenda will dictate how necessary it is. You might not need to hold an office-wide meeting just to announce the new coffee maker after all. Keep in mind that holding and attending meetings will keep the team and yourself from doing their regular work. Is your agenda worth it?
2. Who are attending?
Who are invited to the meeting and are they needed? Find out if every individual you are inviting are essential in attendance. Do you need your superior or could you settle with meeting your team and sending your superior a report after? Having the key audience who can collaborate and contribute to the meeting will help you meet your objectives, and keep you in track.
3. How long will it be?
Meetings can be set as recurring or as stand-alone depending on the objective of the meeting. Based on your agenda, define how much time you need for the meeting by assigning time limits per discussion point. Prioritize your discussion list so the urgent items are discussed first before you run out of time. By keeping time discipline, you train yourself and your teammates to avoid unnecessary chitchat and focus on what is at hand.
4. Do you have a system in place?
You have your agenda written down, and it is very effective in helping you concentrate on the important items, but what happens after the discussion? Have someone keep minutes of the meeting along with an action list. What has been discussed, and what actions are going to take place as a result of the meeting? After the meeting, review your notes and send a copy to all those who are concerned: your attendees, and those who were invited but not able to attend.
5. Who is in control?
As the meeting leader, your responsibility is to guide your team through a productive sit-down. Assuming control means you are able to keep order while encouraging an efficient exchange of ideas. If an argument arises, it is your duty to maintain control and assess the situation.
Piloting a meeting can be overwhelming. You bear the burden of making sure everyone exits the meeting room more informed, productive, and involved. Going over these 5 questions is crucial in reminding yourself that the only meetings you should ever have are the effective ones.