Yesterday, I blogged about one of the greatest frustrations for leaders: meetings. I suggested ideas on how to make them more effective. Today, let’s look at another angle. Often the purpose of a meeting is purely planning. The entire time is spent thinking about an event or idea in the future, so that you can execute it well.
1. Determine an important but realistic goal for the meeting.
Your objective should be significant but not overwhelming to team members. The project and outcomes should be compelling yet concrete.
2. Assign preparation work to attendees.
Team members support what they help create. Ensure ownership by requesting each member to prepare something (facts, charts, etc) to share at the meeting.
3. Declare the goal and the guidelines at the beginning.
At the start, communicate exactly what you hope to accomplish and the clear guidelines for discussion—what is off limits and what’s within the boundaries.
4. Lead the discussion, by delegating appropriate issues to team members.
The leader must run point for the meeting, but should do so my delegating certain topics or issues to the right people. Plan based on the facts presented by each one.
5. Draft a written conclusion.
As discussion wanes and time runs out, have someone draft a written conclusion of what was decided at the meeting, both big picture and key elements.
6. Assign personal responsibility.
Ensure everyone is cooperating to complete the goal. You can do this by assigning projects to each member that help the team make progress. Back it up with an email.
Let everyone know when projects are due. Deadlines are lifelines. For accountability, everyone should know when each should be done. Back it up with an email.
8. Listing of resources.
A list will help you gain a realistic view of what you have and what you need to achieve your goals. This list should include people, technology, money and time.
9. Next steps.
This is actually the most important item to create at the end of a meeting. Make a list of the step everyone will take and send it in written form, electronically.
10. Persons in charge of each task.
Be sure when you list the steps, you also list exactly who is in charge of each one; the person responsible to ensure it gets done.