How many times have you been in a meeting and anxiously waited for your moment of freedom? Sure, meetings are an essential part of any agency, but the skill of being able to run one successfully is sometimes undervalued. We’ve previously discussed why meeting management is paramount to creative project success, and we think it’s relevant to stress its importance.
To help you stop worrying about meeting management, consider the following tips.
Always Have a Purpose
This piece of advice sounds fairly intuitive, right? It is. And yet many organizations still call meetings for formality’s sake on a routine basis. To combat this, you should always have an outline or purpose for a meeting. You should be able to relay specific goals and objectives to your employees.
As we’ve mentioned before, it’s critical to establish, and stick to, an agenda. Your meeting agenda serves as the framework—not only does should it create realistic estimates and expectations for your meeting, it guarantees that things run as smoothly as possible.
What’s more? Agendas help ensure that meetings start and end on time.
Consider Who is Invited
When you call a meeting, it’s important to consider exactly who needs to attend. Announcing a major change across your project team? Invite the employees who are affected by this announcement. Trying to solve a problem? Invite resources that will specifically contribute to the solution.
When your employees feel that information is irrelevant, or that they lack the skills to be of assistance, they’ll feel undervalued and will consider the meeting a waste of time.
One of the toughest managerial skills to master is the ability to excite and encourage employees in a natural way. Even if you heed our previous piece of advice and invite the necessary participants, you’ll still have some attendees with more reserved personalities. Public speaking isn’t for everyone after all and some people are simply uncomfortable speaking up in group situations.
How do you combat this? Create a comfortable, collaborative environment that places a heavy emphasis on valuing your employees. Remember, the best leaders don’t dominate. Rather, take the role as facilitator, and delegate meeting leadership.
Once you establish an agenda, be sure to stick to it! This means discussing issues thoroughly, but pressing for closure when necessary. You should be able to determine exactly who is doing what and when, before you move on to the next agenda item.
Tracking time and pressing for closure ensures that time is utilized and employees leave the meeting feeling engaged and ready to work.
Summarize Main Points—and Follow Up
At the end of the day, a meeting isn’t successful unless everyone walks away and takes action. However, even if you run the most concise, logical meeting in the world, it’s common for employees to come away from the same meeting with different interpretations of what went on. That’s why it’s wise to summarize each discussion point at the end of the meeting.
To take things one-step further, we suggest following up with your employees. During the meeting, keep a record of action items, and follow up with an email that blatantly outlines goals and expectations.