5 Tips to Run a Successful Meeting

5 tips to run a successful meetingMeetings are an essential part of every organization.  Yet, at least 50% of meetings today are ineffective.  This cartoon on the left may seem silly but is not far from the truth in describing bad meetings.  It is essential to your success to learn how to run a successful meeting.  Effective meeting management skills will help you successfully share your ideas and thoughts with your audience.  It will also help you stand out in your job and build your work reputation.

Whether it is a board meeting, staff meeting, stakeholders meeting, or sales meeting, the purpose of each meeting type is common – sharing information to make key decisions and take action.  Here are ­­­­5 basic tips on how to run successful meetings and always leave a lasting impression on your audience.

1. Start the Meeting on Time

Be specific and punctual with the meeting timing.  Start your meeting within 2 to 3 minutes of start time to be respectful to those who are attending on time.  Those who arrive late can catch up on their own.  You can help them catch up at the end of the meeting if there is time.

2. Define Meeting Purpose

One of the most important and effective tasks to run a successful meeting is to begin with a description of the purpose of the meeting. By sharing the purpose in the initial five to ten minutes, you may set the foundation, establish rules, and present the terms of reference to define a clear direction for the meeting.

This concept seems simple but is often missed.  Many people make the mistake of just sharing status of their work. To an effective meeting purpose, make it specific, achievable, and results in some kind of action during or after the meeting.

3. Encourage Open Discussion

Active participation from the audience is critical to creating a greater pool of ideas. As a meeting leader, you should act as a facilitator and encourage input from people who are eager to contribute as well as from those who are less likely to speak. By encouraging open discussion, you can gather various opinions and suggestions to make more effective decisions.

Moreover, you need to keep the discussion on track to maintain your focus on main issues and save considerable amount of time.

4. Summarize the Meeting with Key Points

Once you have discussed all key topics, summarize the discussion at the end of the meeting, highlighting core ideas. Also, give a brief summary of action schedule, implementation plan, and time and tasks allocation. Make sure that everybody agrees with your summary to ensure active participation during the implementation phase.

5. Maintain a Record

Distribute the minutes of the meeting within 24 hours. You don’t have written down every detail of the meeting.  Focus just on three aspects

  1. Who attended the meeting
  2. Key conclusions from the meeting
  3. Key action steps and who owns them

The more important the meeting, the more important it is to distribute the meeting notes in writing.  You can then use it as a foundation for follow ups down the road.

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