How to Run More Effective Meetings, Part 2

This is the second of four blog entries I will publish every Monday this month on how to run more effective meetings. These entries are based on the lessons I have learned from the more than 30,000 hours I have spent participating in or facilitating meetings.\r\n\r\nToday, I will write about what should happen during the crucial first minutes of the meeting. Here are a few things to consider:\r\n\r\n• Do you set the tone for the meeting by ALWAYS starting on time? Think about the message you are conveying if you usually wait five to ten minutes to get started. Aren’t you essentially saying: “It’s OK to be a few minutes late; we will wait for you?” or “Don’t show up on time, we’ll start ten minutes late anyway?” A newsletter reader posted a question on my website asking how to implement this. While I know it’s easier said than done, I offered a few suggestions that you can read here.\r\n\r\n• Do you review the meeting objectives and agenda as the first item in the meeting? In the previous post, I suggested distributing the meeting objectives and agenda to all participants days before the meeting. Unfortunately, I have seen too many instances where participants show up without having read these documents. This is why it is so important to validate, with each and every meeting participant, their full understanding and buy-in of the objectives and agenda, and the role expected from them during and after the meeting.\r\n\r\n• Are there any ground rules about how you expect people to behave during the meeting? Don’t take for granted that every participant will know how you want to run your meeting. You may place a higher priority on things such as requesting open participation at all levels and banning the use of electronic devices during the meeting. Other meeting leaders may prefer a more organized way of participating (like raising your hand before speaking) and may not care if people use devices during the meeting. This is why I suggest sharing a short list of clear and simple behaviors you want to be observed in your meeting.\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\nFeel free to use the comments section on this page to ask questions or post comments.\r\n\r\nNext Monday, I will cover what needs to happen during the meeting.\r\n\r\nPercy M. Cannon\r\nAuthor, Consultant, Facilitator & Coach\r\

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