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  • Writer's pictureL3 Global Ventures

How to Run an Effective Meeting

It is a common workplace occurrence for us to attend bad meetings. We can arrive on time, only to have the meeting begin a few minutes late. The plan is highly unclear, and conversations go nowhere. Some colleagues start sharing their ideas, only for others to shoot them down. And before you know it, the meeting is over, decisions are not made, and you silently lament the time you have lost.

But there is always a way to flip such an unfortunate event into something more engaging, enjoyable, and fruitful. With tips from a group of chief executives, there are rules to running an effective meeting. And these strategies and tips can work for anyone in the office, regardless of their position.

  • Set the Meeting Agenda

An agenda is a crucial element in workplace meetings, but there is a tendency for sessions to lack a specific purpose. When you set a meeting agenda, you can place it anywhere, from summarizing it on an email, writing it down on a whiteboard, or discussing it explicitly at the outset. Employees need to know why they have gathered around in a particular space and what tasks they need to accomplish. The plan always sets the tone for the conversation to follow, so the meeting can get back on track if the discussion begins to lose course.

When leaders ensure that an agenda has been set for a meeting, everyone and everything else will fall into place. They must focus on the people they are communicating with and maintain that focus within themselves and the people around them.

  • Encourage Active Participation

As the first item establishes, clearly state the meeting agenda and what you aim to accomplish. Simultaneously, know when to be quiet and let others speak. If you voice your opinion first, you'll probably notice nodding heads around the table and hearing individuals declare they wholeheartedly concur with your conclusions.

Once you state the conclusion at the beginning of the meeting, there will be no discussion. Unless you possess a good sense of control and hold yourself back, you won't be able to gain perspective from anyone else, and those perspectives could be pretty valuable for you and your business.

  • Start and End on Time

Waiting can drain one's energy quite quickly. Why do many people who hold positions of authority and power engage in the terrible habit of being late for workplace meetings? Are they swamped? Or is keeping everyone waiting a strange, little delight meant to remind them that their time is a little more valued than everyone else's?

It cannot be helped that in the professional world, time is money, and all that sitting around and figuring out when your leader will arrive is a waste of a vital resource. Employees are highly dependent on what their leader says, especially when establishing informal rules within an organization. If that person wants meetings to begin on time, then meetings must start on time.

Starting on time and finishing on time is equally crucial. Establishing a precise end time can help ensure that everything on your agenda is completed and everyone returns to their jobs on time.

  • End with an Action Plan

The last few moments in the workplace meeting should concentrate on the following steps. The discussion must include deciding the roles responsible for the delegated tasks and the deadlines that will take place. Otherwise, all the time spent on the meeting will only lead nowhere.

In the words of Shellye Archambeau, chief executive of MetricStream: "When you're in sports, and the ball is thrown to you, then you've got the ball, and you're now in control of what happens next. You own it. It becomes an evident concept for ensuring that there's ownership to ensure things get done."

  • Assess Your Action Plan

There are four questions that center around the assessment of an action plan:

  • What did we expect to happen?

  • What actually happened?

  • What went well while achieving our tasks and why?

  • What can be improved and how?

Action plan reviews can have as much impact as action plans themselves. They allow team members and leaders to specifically identify their strengths and discover weaknesses that they must improve on.

In essence, an after-action assessment imparts knowledge because, to paraphrase an old saying, there is power in knowledge. How can you aim for improvement if you don’t know what went wrong?

On the other hand, you won't be able to replicate your achievement in the future if you don't know why or how something worked out. You can use the information you learn from the after-action review to actually enhance your organization.

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