The Six keys to leading effective meetings
Many of us lead
meetings and yet I often hear leaders say meetings are a waste of time,
they are boring, or it is unclear what is being achieved by getting
together. To be honest, I have run boring meetings too and I have been
in meetings which are a waste of time. I have also been in meetings
which were purposeful, even when there was no agenda, and where I
experienced both my and others' participation was worthwhile.
One of the keys to
an effective meeting is to provide a structure for the meeting. Many
people use an agenda to structure meetings, and this is one approach.
Another approach is to allow people to arrive, tune into the purpose and
each other, and create a process for everyone to contribute.
I prefer leading and participating in meetings with the second approach. I
have identified six keys for beginning meetings, and two for concluding
them. This approach will take the initial 6 - 7 minutes of the meeting.
- Begin with a welcome, which includes all participants. An example is 'welcome everyone' or 'kia ora koutou'
express your appreciation to the participants. Everyone present has
made a conscious choice to be there. One simple way of doing this is to
say ' thank you for coming', or 'thank you for being here'.
next principle, one of the more difficult ones, is to make a personal
statement. - 'I am looking forward to our work together', or 'I am
pleased to see you all here'. Many leaders might say 'it is good to see
you all here.' One of my supervisors encouraged me to express myself
saying "it, it, what is 'it' You can put 'it' in a wheelbarrow and wheel
it around! What I am encouraging here, is to be personal, bring
yourself into the picture, rather than 'it' when you are leading groups
- Outline the purpose so that everyone is clear why they are there: 'Our purpose today is to resolve ........'
people's potential contributions - this communicates your vision for
everyone's contribution. You may want to say something like 'Our work
today will have quite an impact on......' or ' I know each of you brings
a wide range of experience, and I am looking forward to hearing your
ideas on how we might proceed'
- Finally, provide a
process in which people can participate. The most simple version of this
is. 'how about we hear briefly from everyone on...' or ' I've given
this some thought, so how about I kick off, then each of you can add
your comments' or, 'lets begin with you Fred, outlining what you think
the main concerns are with what has happened, then each of us can add to
this so we have the full picture before we proceed in how we will
address what is happening.'
Your meeting is underway!
Two keys to concluding effective meetings
- Summarise what has been agreed and what's next, or ask someone in the group to make a summary, and others can add
- Thank everyone for participating.
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