4 Expert Tips on Running Effective Meetings

EF Blog (23rd of October)

In this digital age of instant messaging, group chats, and video conferencing, meetings may seem like a relic of the past. Sometimes, though, your team needs a face-to-face opportunity to talk through problems, brainstorm projects, and strategize. But this influx of tech tools has increased the pressure on leaders to run effective meetings. To ensure your meetings are effective for everyone on your team, check out the following four tips.

1. Be Flexible

If you’re worried that your team’s meetings are less effective than they could be because members often go off on tangents, that may not be the red flag you think it is. Studies on high-performing teams have shown that teams that exhibit meeting behaviors that many would flag as ineffective—like casual conversation at the beginning of meetings, going off on tangents, and talking over one another—actually perform better than teams that run stricter meetings, where there’s no deviation from the agenda and the leader dominates the conversation.

That’s because the former meeting behaviors are indicative of a team that’s supportive of its members and that values hearing everyone’s voices equally. This kind of meeting promotes an environment where members don’t fear ridicule from one another and feel comfortable sharing their ideas. Not to mention, creative thinking involves making connections between seemingly unrelated ideas—so an off-topic train of thought here and there could actually spark innovation.

2. Set an Agenda

That being said, there’s a fine line between the occasional off-topic discussion during a meeting and a meeting that feels like a waste of time. To honor your team members’ time, be sure to set and follow an agenda. That way, when your team does veer off course, you have something to bring them back to. Plus, creating an agenda forces you to consider if a meeting is actually necessary.

If you’re struggling to come up with agenda items to fill your meeting’s time space, it may be an indication that your problem could be better addressed through email or by speaking to select team members directly.

3. Ensure Equal Understanding

Frequent and effective communication is one of the cornerstones of teamwork—and it should be a hallmark of your meetings as well. If team members walk away not really understanding the key takeaways of the meeting, they won’t be able to effectively execute their accountabilities. That’s why, during every team meeting, you must ensure all team members are on the same page—that they’ve not only heard what’s been said but understand it.

While building your agenda, it will be helpful to make time for team members to ask clarifying questions for a better understanding. Team leaders foster a meeting atmosphere that’s welcoming of these questions and deeper discussions. Meeting attendees must feel comfortable about speaking up when they don’t understand something, and that has everything to do with your culture.

4. Make a Plan Post-Meeting

How many times have you sat through a meeting where team members were highly committed to and engaged with their accountabilities, yet, after the meeting, weeks went by without any results? With meetings, the secret is in the follow-up. Get into the habit of ending your meetings with an action plan, where each member is clear on what they need to do next to move the project forward.

Even better, immediately following the meeting, type up a meeting recap with action items and send it to all meeting attendees. Having a tangible document to refer back to will help keep everyone on task after the meeting ends.

Running meetings is a crucial skill for team leaders to master, but it’s not a skill that always comes easily. Creating a robust leadership development program can ensure that any employee has the skills needed to lead as effectively as possible.

About the author

Ian_Profile_WebIan has been with Eagle’s Flight since 1997, and is Executive Vice President, Global Accounts. He holds an MBA in Finance and Marketing from the University of British Columbia. Ian spent 12 years at Nestlé Canada and brings a wide range of experience that includes practical business experience in management, sales, program design, development and mentoring. He works closely with the Global licensees to ensure their success as they represent Eagle’s Flight in the worldwide marketplace. He has developed outstanding communication skills and currently is the Executive in Charge of a large Fortune 500 client with a team of employees dedicated to this specific account. As a result, Ian has been instrumental in driving the company’s growth and strategic direction.

 

Re- Blogged From:- Eagles Flight

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