How to conduct a meeting
No matter how much time you spend planning a meeting, it's not going to be successful without a few simple tools that will help you manage the meeting. If you would like to conduct successful meetings, here are some helpful suggestions.
Be on time and end on time
In order to conduct a successful meeting, you need to start the meeting on time and you need to end the meeting on time. While a meeting is a great time to brainstorm and plan, you and your employees need to get back to work as soon as possible. Keep a clock in the office so you can reference it often to make sure the meeting is on time.
Don't feel bad about interrupting people. Since you are conducting the meeting, you are responsible for keeping it moving. If you have an employee that likes to ramble on about different things, interrupt them and simply say you need to move on to the next item on the agenda.
Don't wait for employees that are late to a meeting. If you schedule the meeting for 10 o'clock, start it promptly at 10 o'clock and let that employee feel embarrassed on their own when they realize they are walking in 20 minutes late to the meeting. Unless your employee has mentioned that they will be late, you should never hold a meeting for anyone.
Pass out an agenda
Just before the meeting, hand out an agenda so everyone knows what will be discussed. Agendas also help to keep your employees on a strict schedule and people will avoid rambling off the main subject that is being discussed.
When you start the meeting, lay out some of the ground rules. Let your employees know what you would like to accomplish during the meeting. This helps to state the purpose of the meeting and it gets employees thinking about what they can contribute to the meeting.
You are going to need the participation of your employees to complete the main purpose of the meeting but you need to guide your participants instead of allowing them to run the meeting for you. Here are some easy tips to guide them:
- Start out the meeting by saying the objective and ask your employees to contribute when they feel it is necessary.
- Keep a firm command of the meeting by being a model of respect, honesty, and integrity at all times. You want your employees to look up to you and respect your opinion during the meeting.
- Address things that have been said in previous meetings that you felt needed a follow-up. During the meeting, hold a particular employee responsible for the suggestions they have. Commit them to a certain project if they say they want to be a part of it.
- Watch your employee's body language. If you notice they are starting to get turned off by the subject, you should switch to a new topic. You also need to quickly squash any problems that arise during the meeting.
- Ask open-ended questions that will inspire employees to talk. If another employee tries to interrupt that person, make sure you re-direct the question back to the original person and give them a chance to make their voice heard.
A great way to keep your employees attention during the meeting is to use some visuals. Hand out some papers or you can use slides or a PowerPoint presentation to conduct the meeting. Visuals help to reinforce what you are saying and some employees respond to visual learning better than listening to you talk for 30 minutes.