Be great at meetings – tips for hosts and attendees
Meetings: are they critical interactions or time killers? Depending on the day and your mood, your opinion probably changes a little bit.
Today, let’s call them a necessary evil. And, if you’re going to host or attend one today, we’ve put together a few best practices that ensure you’ll take a leadership role.
If you’re hosting a meeting today
To make sure every attendee is as prepared as possible, email an agenda to attendees before the meeting. Even better, attach your agenda to the meeting reminder. Your preparation for the meeting should include simple things like remembering to bring a pen and some paper. We find that a notebook is best … and leave the highlighter at your desk.
Structure your meeting
When creating the meeting agenda – and you always need an agenda – make sure you include an objective. To create the most specific objective, fill in the blank: “The desired outcome of this meeting is for attendees to_______.” Begin the meeting by sharing this objective with everyone and then proceed with the most pressing issues first.
Define the action items
It’s your meeting to close, and people like a strong close. Summarize key takeaways and action items that you discussed. If people leave the meeting with a sense of purpose, then you have done your job as a meeting chair. Gather meeting notes from the notetaker, and let everyone know they’ll be receiving a written record of everything that was discussed.
Finally, be respectful and finish your meeting on time. If you must run a few minutes over, give others who need to go the opportunity to leave before you carry on.
If you must run a few minutes over, give others who need to go the opportunity to leave before you carry on.
If you’re attending a meeting today
Prepare (everyone needs to!)
Being on time is obvious, as is bringing associated meeting materials. To make the most of the time spent in your meeting, it’s best to be familiar with the meeting materials and to be ready to update your colleagues on relevant developments from your area(s) of work.
Support the host’s goals
To help the meeting organizer keep to the agenda (and end the meeting on time), stay focused on the topics being discussed and contribute to the discussion. Be ready to make decisions and help move your project forward when required.
Be ready to make decisions and help move your project forward when required.
Pay close attention
Meetings can be great opportunities to learn about new trends and initiatives in your industry or your organization. Even in a routine meeting, contributing to a culture of respect and attention is a valuable trait that gets noticed and appreciated. Listen, ask questions, take notes and, above all, ignore your smartphone.
Use these tips to take the lead at your next meeting … and don’t forget your pen!
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