Monday, 27 February 2012

Leading Effective Meetings

As a leader, how do you ensure purpose in your meetings?

As leaders, we generally have the positional authority to call meetings when we wish.  This has obvious advantages but it also has significant potential risks for you as a leader.  If your meetings are purposeful and engaging, you run the risk of dooming all meetings to events your staff members learn to dread.

Here are four simple ideas to ensure effective meetings:

  • Have a clear purpose.  Be sure that each meeting has a clear purpose and that everyone attending knows the purpose in advance.  People who attend can come prepared.  If your purpose is clear, your outcomes will be more readily accomplished.
  • Ensure everyone who needs to be there is present.  Be sure that everyone who needs to know - or wants to know - is included.  If the meeting is worth calling, it's worth having all valuable perspectives present in the room.  It's annoying and ineffective when you find you need someone there and they weren't even invited.
  • Operate by pre-determined norms.  Establish clear, easy-to-follow norms and stick by them.  People appreciate how norms focus meetings and get the work done in a timely manner.
  • Use facilitation strategies. A well-facilitated meeting engages the participants and it accomplishes the outcomes desired.  Without facilitation, the meeting can go on and on while its trying to find a focus.  What usually ends up happening is that one person takes over and it becomes their meeting and you lose the value of those who are present. 

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