Effective face-to-face communication, a meeting is essential to determine the needs and issues of an organisation so that the necessary actions may be taken. Statistics show that 79% of professionals do other things during their meetings, whilst 39% of them admit that they doze off for a few minutes. (Source: WCW Partners)
Leading a meeting can be stressful and nerve-wracking, especially if you are unprepared. Here are some tips on how to be the master of your meeting:
1. Be Prepared
You should first identify the 5Ps to establish a clear meeting objective:
- Purpose- Why are we having a meeting?
- Product- What end results are we expecting?
- Participants- Who do we need to execute the purpose and the product?
- Probable Issue- What concerns need to be addressed?
- Process- How are we going to accomplish the purpose and the product?
Choosing the right venue for the meeting is also essential as it will create the environment that will set the mood of the meeting. It should be accessible; facilities and services like WIFI or Internet connection should also be available. It should also have the necessary equipment and devices to avoid technical disruptions and to ensure an efficient presentation. Even food can be distributed to the participants.
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2. Set a timeline
In the business world, every minute counts. Creating a schedule of the topics that will be discussed can ensure a well-organised meeting. As the leader of the meeting, you should arrive early so that you can be prepared and arrange the things you will need. Start your meeting on time and avoid discussing unnecessary topics.
3. Encourage Interactive Participation
At the beginning of the meeting, you can allot a 10 minute icebreaker to promote engagement among the participants. This will eventually encourage interactive participation during the actual meeting. You can also use a small group discussion to help everyone get involved. The active participation of the delegates is essential because they are the ones who will execute the plan in order to achieve the desired outcome.
4. Facilitate Arguments
Every participant will have their own opinions and ideas. During the meeting, the leader should be the mediator. Always listen to each party’s judgement and conclude constructively. Compliment them for their contribution during the meeting and give helpful advice.
5. Masterful Close
Discuss the actions that you will execute in order to achieve your meeting goals. Make sure that all arguments are settled and everyone has agreed on the necessary action. Then, create a schedule and an execution plan to follow.
6. Take Notes
The minutes are significant as they can help track the things that have been discussed during the meeting; they will also include the key points and decisions achieved. The leader can take down the minutes but it is recommended that someone else does it instead so that the focus can remain on the objectives and a spontaneous report can be written. You can distribute the notes when the meeting comes to a close.
As the leader, you should focus and pay attention to the details of the meeting. You should address concerns and assist arguments effectively. Try to understand how people in different departments work. There is always a room for improvement, so don’t forget to evaluate your own skillset in order to master the perfect meeting.