3 Tips for Making Meetings Matter

How to use your Meeting Time Wisely

Example Action Plan template to transform goals into actions.

Example Action Plan template to transform goals into actions.

One of the most universally applicable classes I teach is “Making Meetings Matter”.  Since the need for running effective meetings transcends practically every organization in every industry I thought sharing some highlights from the class may be useful.  Your ability to attack a meeting and make it worth your time has to do with your management of: before, during and after.  As a facilitator you can better guide things through: preparation, leadership and follow-up. This is a great one page checklist to help you tackle the three parts of the meeting. 

1.     Preparation

One key to running an efficient and effective (let’s be honest, those two things are synonymous) meeting is to be as prepared as possible before the meeting ever begins.  Creating and distributing agendas, handouts, designating who will take minutes, etc. ahead of time helps keep the meeting on track and on time.  Additionally, being organized and on top of things from the start helps establish the facilitator as the leader and will make the rest of the meeting run more smoothly.  Always, always use an agenda, even if it feels frivolous. You can find a sample agenda here. 

2.     Leadership

While having the right people in the room and sufficiently prepared is important to its success, the ultimate accomplishments of any meeting largely depend on the effectiveness of the leadership.  You should be active in establishing ground rules, guiding productive conversation, and encouraging participation.  Once the facilitator has successfully navigated the team through the agenda, the next important step is to make sure any action items are specifically tasked to ensure they are completed and progress can be tracked. Need tips on facilitation, this handout has some great advice on powerful questions you can ask to get the most out of your meeting.

3.     Follow-Up

Using the action plan established in the minutes as a guide, the final step in seeing your effective meeting through to fruition is to communicate with the necessary attendees after the meeting is over.  Make sure the people who were given responsibility for any action items are clear on their commitments and then make sure to remind anyone tasked with something of the expected due date ahead of time.

So, meeting participants, show up on time, prepared and ready to openly engage and participate.  Leaders, prepare ahead of time and come ready to lead an inclusive, encouraging and structured meeting.  And, don’t forget to write thank you notes.  A little encouragement and appreciation goes a long way!

For a full copy of the presentation full of other tips, check it out below.