How to Run Effective Meetings in 10 Steps [+ Free Template]

Cody Cromwell
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Before Your Meeting: Prepare

It’s essential to prepare your speaker before holding meetings because it not only factors into their effectiveness, but it also helps to improve their readiness for each meeting. By doing this, you not only create a better experience for yourself and your attendees, but it also helps to create a better experience for your speakers.

Before your meeting, get your speaker to discuss their presentation and outline the points they will be covering. If you’ve already gathered your information, give your speaker the data you’ll be using, so they know exactly what you’re expecting them to cover.

Consider practicing with your speakers as well. During your preparation, practice out loud the points about which they will be speaking. By the time the meeting comes around, you’ll both be familiar with what you are discussing and if anything seems out of sync.

This tip will also help to improve your speaker’s comfort level at your meeting, as well as in future meetings.

Determine What You Want to Accomplish

It often seems that there are people in every organization who somehow think the meeting has been called so they can hear what they already know. At a minimum, to accomplish the purpose for which the meeting was called, you must:

  •  identify the requirements of the meeting
  •  determine the attendees
  •  discuss any concerns or topics that might be on the meeting agenda
  •  establish expected outcomes and desired results
  •  walk through the goals and expected behaviors of the meeting participants
  • The most effective meeting agendas include at least one goal

Sometimes, participants are unaware of what their role is. For example, in my last meeting, one person thought she was in charge, but another person was actually in charge of getting the actual work done.

After the meeting, even the people who take responsibility have trouble understanding what they must do to complete the work. When you ask them later what they did to complete the work, often you get a blank stare.

For example, the person in charge didn’t plan to refer to the webpage to track their progress, or the person who was tracking progress couldn’t understand the things that the other person must do to keep the work on track.

Set and Document an Agenda

Before you kick off your meeting, have everyone commit to a set agenda. Ensure that everyone understands that if they put off their tasks or arrive late to the meeting, the outcome of the meeting will suffer. Remind them that you'll all be stakeholders in the decision that's made and so you should all be equally invested in its success.

Documenting the meeting agenda can be a thankless task, but it can help you prevent the scheduling of the meeting from devolving into chaos. Having a set agenda will also prevent you from continually adjusting the meeting's focus during it.

At this point it is critical to ensure that everyone in attendance understands the meeting's purpose, dynamics and scope. Listen to their input while they question whether the item on the top of the agenda is something they need to spend their time on.

Clarify the item’s importance and briefly (90 seconds or less) give a relevant backstory about why the item’s importance shouldn’t be overlooked.

Tie the meeting's agenda to the company’s business goals. Remind them that the meeting is valuable to the company because it will help the company reach a specific goal.

Decide Who Needs to Be There

The first step is to decide who will be needed, specifically who needs to be at the meeting. Will you be discussing employee deadlines or new marketing strategies? Each type of meeting has its own audience. If you are meeting to create employee deadlines or marketing strategies, who should be in attendance? In general, you need your boss, team members (if appropriate), and a few extra people to help round out the groups.

Who shouldn’t be there? If it is an employee led meeting, it is important to get input from everyone in the team. If not, consider having it as a ”green light” meeting …just to gauge what everyone thinks. Otherwise, you run the risk of hearing negative feedback when you are already worn out from preparing the documents and preparing the meeting. If a certain team member is going to ask a lot of questions, you might want to limit their input.

You always want to have the right number of people in your meeting, but never put too many. Turn off your phone, and clear out your inbox; no one wants to meet and end up buried in emails.

Settle on a Format, Time & Location

Getting the perfect format, location and time for your business meeting is the very first step to running an efficient meeting. Think about what you want the meeting to accomplish and pick a format that suits your needs. Some of the most popular meeting formats are:

Designated Meeting Leader – establishes a thesis and has the group work together to come to a decision A-B-A format – leader leads a discussion, then one person offers a motion. Leader then presents pros and cons of the motion to the group, asks for an A-B-A vote. The motion is approved or denied Confirmatory Discussion – leader starts with a question and then asks for opinions. Leader summarizes and summarizes feedback to get to a decision Structure Use the Least Topic Method – leaders ask the group to present the topic they'd like to discuss, and then they move on. Stick to a time limit for each topic, and go for as many topics as possible. Clear Out Your Decks – this might seem obvious, but the more of these things you have going on at any given time, the less productive your meeting will be. Keep the Deck Clean by Taking Care of the Basics Before you start a meeting, make sure the phone, internet, and other distractions are turned off. It's essentially like turning off all outside distractions and heading into that conference room to discuss business.

Invite Attendees

Have you ever been to a meeting where somebody tried to organize a meeting and invite participants before the meeting? Well, it's not a wise idea. If you can't prepare your meeting properly, it might not be a wise idea to try and organize a meeting.

The old and more than likely thought of rule is to leave five minutes before the scheduled meeting. Leave yourself enough time to properly prepare for the meeting.

If you are new to the business or management world, then your main goal is to learn. Most meetings tend to bore people. The lack of preparation and the boring meeting can fast decrease the amount of information you receive at each meeting. Therefore, your main goal for the next meeting is to organize your meeting.

By the time you get to the end of the scheduling process, you will have developed and implemented meeting strategies that will increase the effectiveness of your meetings.

One of the key components of an effective meeting is the start of the meeting. The start of the meeting is one of the most important parts of the meeting. The start of the meeting determines if the meeting will be productive or have the opposite effect.

Therefore, you should take the time to properly plan your meeting before it begins. Spend a few minutes to think about the meeting you will be having. Think about the purpose, goals, and objectives of the meeting. Create you own agenda to create for the meeting.

During Your Meeting: Running the Meeting

Before everyone sits down, have a one sentence summary of the meeting put on the whiteboard. The meeting with the most impactful meeting according to 1,000 attendees is an hour long. (Source: Hubspot)

The purpose of a meeting is to create action. If you want to see real business impact, you must move quickly towards action. Therefore keep the meeting process as short and simple as possible.

Always use the time to the benefit of everyone in the room.

Inspire your audience and managers by explaining who you are and why this meeting matters. Use your opening time to set expectations.

Break down any uncertainty that you can. If there are any questions, address them.

Talk about the why and what not the who. Make sure to get agreement on the why. The "who" is the easy part!

If you have 10 minutes left, summarize the most important points. This allows people to ask questions and be sure of what they understand before they leave.

Ensure everyone is clear on all cut and pasted from the agenda. If participants need to discuss an issue, ask if you can meet privately afterwards or if they can email you.

Close the meeting promptly. If there are no critical issues and important decisions haven’t been made, grab the remote and shut the meeting down. Avoid time wasting and keep the meeting moving quickly.

Welcome & Greet Attendees

Welcome your fellow workers or co-workers using a professional template and printable welcome signs that are certain to get the attention of your attendees. In fact, we recommend you collect everyone’s name on the sign itself, so they know to thank you for such a simple, thoughtful greeting.

Be sure to thank them for attending and appreciate their work, and even send them off with a personal or group written message.

Solicit Attendees

Call your attendees at their chosen meeting location, but be sure you let them know when the conference begins in order to ensure they’re not caught off-guard. Ask them to confirm they’re free to attend and what time is best to meet.

Maintain Attendee Schedules

Ask attendees for their preferred meeting time and location. Even if you’re the only organizer, you’ll still need to have a system in place. Don’t forget to confirm this information with everyone. Once you have your plan, make a note of everyone’s preferred time and place to be able to be a reminder to stay on time.

Review the Agenda & Get Feedback

First, take a look at your agenda and make sure you understand exactly what is going to happen. Making a quick checklist of each item will help you make sure you cover everything you need to. Also, you should take some time to get your co-workers and managers involved. Ask them what they think should be included in order to make the meeting run as smoothly as possible. You’ll find that they’ll probably respond to questions about your agenda with ideas.

So start with your objectives and then review your agenda accordingly. Put your top priorities at the top and eliminate anything that doesn’t fit. You can also ask two or more people for feedback on the meeting objectives. They will notice things that you may have overlooked and they will provide you with new points to add to your list. Next, you should look over your meeting goals and prepare a plan.

Work Through Your Agenda Items

Laying out your meeting and top bullet points is one of the best ways to accomplish your agenda items in less time. Use your agenda items as your Master Schedule for the meeting.

Get to all of the items on your agenda in less time by organizing them in an outline format. It’s also better to have the meeting in an outside location, where you can work uninterrupted.

Organize your agenda items based on the way you like to work the best. For example, some people like to work on an agenda item while others like to organize the agenda in order.

Tips for Dealing with Unresponsive People

Someone can’t be excellent at everything, and delegating can be one of those times when you have to deal with someone who just isn’t a natural delegator. It happens to the best of us, and it’s important to overcome this hurdle and get to your agenda items on time.

A lot of times, you become aware of how unresponsive someone is with delegated tasks only after you’ve handed them off. People tend to be in a rush to get their own assignments taken care of, which can distract you from what you’re supposed to be doing.

Record Next Steps

How do you remember to follow through on your promises? How do you manage your time? How do you begin a follow-up meeting? The key is to make sure that every new step has a system to record progress and action.

A lot of us are time poor, which is why we procrastinate a lot. Whether it’s putting things off for an hour or taking a day off to relax. We make sure to do as little as possible and to only commit to the bare minimum that we need to. It’s a bad habit that becomes a system. When we have an activity scheduled, we tell ourselves that we will do it then and there and probably put it off. Then the next time it’s time to work on it, we put it off somewhere else!

So instead of getting your hands dirty and organizing your day, you get a cheeky glass of wine and fire up Netflix. There is a leap between saying that you will do something and actually doing it. The act of recording next steps has shown me a lot of promise in improving our productivity!

Without further ado, here is how to run a meeting effectively, take notes, get things done and make sure that we follow through on what we said we would do. These are helpful reminders to make sure that you give yourself a second chance at doing things.

After Your Meeting: Recap & Follow Up

By now, the meeting should be over. Assuming you are not hosting it yourself, you will probably be sitting in a group discussion of your own data, gone over and ad hoc reports. It’s time to review what went well and what could be improved in the future.

You can’t control everything, and you can’t control everything in advance. The follow-up meeting will be to bring together group discussion, walk through the steps, and assess how things can be improved in the future.

Follow Up on Action Items

High-performing Teams: 10 Ways to Run Effective Meetings

The conference room is a place where information is shared and ideas are channelled. It’s also a place where people come together and collaborate to hammer together a coherent strategy and plan of action to achieving a common objective.

Is your team’s performance hampered by wasted time and resources in meetings?

Well, making effective use of meetings is a critical skill ” one that must improve if you want to achieve your goals. In this post, we’re going to look at what it takes to make a meeting productive.

Alternatives to Meetings

Meeting are a common part of the workplace and necessary in order to achieve tasks. However, the way we hold meetings comes with a cost, which, on the surface, appears to be a waste of time, money and resources. There may not be a perfect solution to save time and resources, but there are some alternative ways to get the job done. Here are 10 ideas for how to run effective meetings in 10 steps:

Don’t schedule too often!

First of all, schedules are not always feasible. For example, if a task has multiple teams, it is not possible to make all of the teams observe the schedule together. This is where TZP and PERT come in.

TZP is a process for reengineering the entire schedule in a shorter period of time. In order to do this, you need to know how long all the tasks and activities are and how their components are interrelated. For example, a recruitment process entails many tasks which form a big component of the process. If you split the process in many tiny tasks, it can be done in a shorter time, which may not be ideal. However, if you break them into suitable and manageable chunks, they can be done even in a shorter time frame.

Communication Tools

Along with meeting agendas and agendas tools, the proper tools for meetings are crucial for its success. The least that you need is a meeting room and the right technology. Here is a list of tools that will help you run your meetings efficiently.

A Smartphone is a must have tool for meetings. Be the first one to answer a question from a volunteer or a guest. Additionally, the screen is an ideal meeting tool for presentations, interactive tasks, and brainstorming. In 2018, Google is introducing Meetbot G Suite which includes a bot as part of G Suite. It will be the first time a bot will be part of G Suite. With the deployment of this new technology, Meetbot does three things. It will keep the minutes of your conference, host your meetings, and gives you the ability to record meetings. It’s a paid option, but it’s worth it.

Conference Phones are essential for two-way communication and presentations. Each conference has a dedicated mute button on the bottom of the device. It comes in handy when a speaker has the most important part of the paper he is presenting, and the person in the back of the room is making background noise. Also, conference phones are perfect to hear from a speaker as you take notes.

Project Management Software

Project Management software is a popular choice for managing multiple projects on the go. Project management is one of the core responsibilities at corporate and small businesses for executing projects.

A good project management tool helps you to coordinate, track, and review all the different activities across the project management life cycle. This helps to ensure that the project is delivered on time with the right quality.

The 10 Step Process

Great projects are often a result of great planning and execution. It starts with having a project charter, followed by a requirements document and sometimes initial design or requirements models which are to be reviewed and approved by higher authorities and then a project team is form and beginning the work. It includes a Track and Update Period, Preparation and Management Period, Execution and Follow-up Period, Control Period, Completion Period and Exit/Closure/Processing Period.

A professional project manager manages single projects or a set of projects for clients. A business manager manages multiple projects and manages multiple resources.

A business is responsible for managing projects that deliver business value and also have a reputed product. Nowadays Project Management software help you to manage the overall management of project or business from beginning to exit.

Some of the popular projects management software and business is:

  • Microsoft Project
  • Wrike
  • Trello
  • Basecamp
  • SalesForce App
  • Todoist

Survey/Feedback Tools

If you’re looking for a simple and easy Survey/Feedback Tool then you got to try SurveyMonkey.

SurveyMonkey is known as the best online survey tool in the industry and it’s known to be one of the most cost-effective.

I am a big advocate for SurveyMonkey when we are starting out with our new feature.

The reason being is that it’s very easy to use, it’s robust, and it has a lot of templates that you can use.

But what does SurveyMonkey do?

SurveyMonkey makes it easy for organizations to gather valuable feedback with the help of a simple yet effective questionnaire. With SurveyMonkey you can collect responses from a blended audience, quickly, and at a fraction of the cost of building your own tool. And what’s great is that with the myriad of SurveyMonkey templates you can get started fast, and as you gain momentum you can add more surveys to your toolset or switch it up by adding questions further down the road.

Peer Training/Coaching

Arrange meetings to observe and build skills. Wherever you have a workshop opportunity, offer the equivalent of an apprentice or journeyman's course in skills improvement. These are usually informal, but give workers a chance to learn and improve, and meet others with common interests.

Expand the facility to allow trainees to work in pairs on matters of concern. Give staff the opportunity to get on-the-job training and make corrections to their partner's mistakes.

Encourage observation and coaching to give workers more time to reflect on their work. Trainers can use their observations to help workers find solutions.

Set up instructions, aids, and checklists to lighten the workload, boost confidence, and guide workers. The aids encourage people to use their judgment. They also demonstrate the concepts.

Give workers a chance to help and instruct others right away. This helps them learn. They also get a chance to be in charge.

Deputize them as learning experts and let them make decisions without supervision. New workers have to be empowered to take responsibility for making decisions, but they need guidance and training to know what those decisions are.

Give workers opportunities to teach. Develop short courses on how to use machinery or make repairs. Give people the chance to show and help others learn.

Introduce the peer learning component, where others can observe and learn from the work practices of the participants. They can help everyone improve by solving problems.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What does the word managment actually mean?

Management is actually the same as control of different factors to achieve desired results.

Every CEO or a manager is a manager in his own right and he takes responsibility for the final results of his organization even after all his subordinates have carried out the recommended tasks successfully.

What is the purpose of conducting meetings?

Meetings are the best avenue to convey important information to an audience, decrease misunderstanding and thus secure timely decision. Sometimes everyone needs to know the same decision. This helps the manager in executing his plans within a shorter time span and budget.

How can I prepare a systematic agenda for the meeting?

Once the meeting starts, you should take the following steps:

A) Mention the agenda of the meeting with the length of time allocated for each of its items.

B) Ask the invitees to raise their questions earlier so that you can prepare answers to them before they are raised.

C) Practice good communication skills.

D) Eliminate any errors and mistakes before the meeting.

E) Keep a record of all the actions planned in the meeting.

F) Make the meeting as productive as possible.

How can a meeting be conducted on a regular basis?

A) Ask your colleague to get to the meeting on time.

How Long Is Too Long for a Meeting?

For some businesses, meetings are simply necessities in their day to day operations. Meetings can play an advanced and crucial role in keeping the business moving forward and preventing major errors. The following steps can help make a regular meeting more useful for your business and for your attendees.

The Infamous, Yet Important, Definition of a Meeting.

It may sound redundant, but a meeting can be defined quite simply as a gathering of people for the purpose of discussing and sharing ideas. In the topic of business, meetings are vital in order to understand your company's goals, meet new colleagues, and move forward as a team.

Meetings also serve the function of increasing employee morale and productivity. For any meeting to be effective, everyone must be able to contribute to the meeting; therefore, it’s important to make sure that anyone who attends can contribute.

But while a meeting is defined as a gathering, it isn’t always a good idea to have a gathering. There’s a fine line between a necessary gathering and an unnecessary gathering. Before the start of a meeting, assess the situation and decide whether or not the meeting is necessary. The event itself is rarely deemed irrelevant or unimportant; therefore it’s important to understand how and when it should be used.

What Is Meant by Meeting Management?

The purpose of meeting is to solve the issues/problems between the management and the employees. It helps to know how to run effective meetings. In order to know how to run the meeting effectively, it is important that the meeting plan is prepared before the meeting starts. The meeting should not be a waste of time and the time should be used rightly. Now, the main objective of the meeting is to deliver the message of the organization in the best possible way for the employees. There are many things that play in the meeting and it should be a productive conference.

Step 1:
The Meeting Plan
Before starting the meeting, it is very essential to know that how many people are present and also the purpose of the meeting. You should have proper guidelines for the follow up of the meeting.

Step 2:
The Participants
There should be an introduction of each of the participants that must be informed prior to the meeting. Each employee should be included in the meeting to be part of the discussion. The first order of step for the participants is to be present in the meeting. In the meeting, there can be some issues related to an employee, which can only be discussed on the occasion of the meeting.

How Is a Staff Meeting Different Than Other Meetings?

As the successful boss of the digital marketing agency DoubleThinking, Matt MacInnis wrote the book on what an effective staff meeting can look like.

The traditional view of a staff meeting is one of a series of one-way, verbose presentations by a team member to a group of managers to outline a new project. "It's pretty formulaic: a meeting is held, one-way communication takes place, and after the meeting, extended e-mail communication with the presenter dominates the afternoon," he says.

But while some meetings are indeed useful tools for communication, MacInnis believes there's a better way. "While it's great to get quick, one-way communication about a topic, what we've discovered as a team is that when we use better communication processes, meetings become teaching moments. As the presenter is presenting, the other members of the team can look at what they're doing and then go back and refocus on their own goals."

Here are 10 tips to help you run the most productive staff meeting you can, every time:

Write yourself a mission statement.

"Always have a clear statement of the meeting's goals from the first minute," says MacInnis. "That way, you know what the meeting is supposed to accomplish, and you can plan your timing accordingly."

Set a time limit.

How Should an Agenda Be Revised for a Conference Call?

How to prepare for a conference call? This question comes up quite frequently. The answer is a little more complicated than you might think! You will first need to know the answers to a lot of questions. For example:

  • What are the objectives to which your attendees need to be held accountable?
  • Are they classified as informational, operational, and/or dispositional?
  • What is the format for the conference call?
  • How exactly does the meeting record need to be handled?
  • How much time does each important part of the meeting require?

Use the answers to these questions to define an agenda for your conference call. When you have an agenda in place, all you need to do is revise it to reflect changes.

Agenda Preparation Steps

In preparing an agenda, you have to take into account a lot of things, some of which you might not have considered. The information you gather might actually be the basis for a detailed agenda.

Therefore, the following point should not be taken as a one-size-fits all process for your agenda, because each meeting is unique and will require a different process. Instead, we can use the following steps as a starting point though.

Gather Concerns on the Agenda

Start by gathering the concerns that your attendees have. These concerns can be classified into informational, operational, and dispositional.

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