How to Have a Successful Meeting

By: Megan Jones

Meetings are a great way to interact with your team or other departments. Not every conversation needs a meeting of course, but when a meeting does arise here are some great tips on how to have a successful meeting.

Start on Time

Your time and everyone’s time is precious and important. Ensure that your meeting starts on time to respect those that arrive promptly. Another suggestion is to begin 2 minutes after the scheduled time to have all participants file in and ensure you aren’t interrupted in the beginning by late comers. Additionally, if you plan to hold a virtual meeting, you can hold participants in the “waiting room” and then when the meeting starts allow them all to come in at the same time. The waiting room allows you to easily track who is there and who isn’t.

Use the Proper Display Channel

Consider these questions before conducting your meeting: How are you conducting this meeting? What materials will you need?

 For smaller or informal meetings verbal discussions may be best and you may not need visuals1.

If you plan to have larger meetings or informational meetings, consider PowerPoint or Google Slides. (If you will be presenting during this meeting check out our article on 7 Tips to be Pro at Presentations). When using a PowerPoint keep the slides light of text. Bullet points are an excellent choice as they will keep you on point and organized. If you overcrowd your slides it can be distracting, and the audience won’t know if they should listen to you or reading the slides.

Additionally, consider having an agenda or outline that attendees can preview before the meeting. This way attendees can come prepared with information or questions, which will likely increase participation. By giving everyone this agenda in advance you are less likely to receive later emails with questions or other items to discuss and/or answer.

Have a Clear Purpose and Stay on Track

When conducting a meeting it is easy to get sidetracked or off topic because there are so many minds in the room. Stay on track by reminding the attendees the purpose of the meeting as needed when other topics arise. If this is an informational meeting continue to provide the information regarding the matter at hand. If possible, take any off topic questions after the meeting.

Create a Collaborative Ending

At the end of the meeting, summarize the outcome and allow for the attendees to have an opportunity to speak. Allot for discussion with your team about where this information will go and what next steps need to happen or what action items need to occur. Create and delegate action items to participants. Moreover, create a timeline for status updates and deadlines or action items and allow employees to add their input. Your conclusion to your meeting will be what people remember. The is for everyone to be confident about the agenda discussed, and that everyone understand what will be expected moving forward.

Send out a Follow Up Email

After your meeting send a follow up email. Thank the attendees for their time and attach a soft copy of the agenda, the summary outcome of the meeting and the slide deck for future reference.

Meetings are a great way to interact, but without a well organized and schedule it can they can be counterproductive. Consider utilizing some of these tips to ensure you have a successful and organized meeting!

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