How to Facilitate an Effective Meeting
Written by Dianne McKinley
Let’s face it, most people hate meetings and that is because most meetings are a waste of time. No matter how much a leader may want a meeting to be productive, most meetings fall short. In this blog, I will outline how you can design and facilitate effective meetings that your team actually looks forward to!
To get us started, there are a couple of rules to live by when it comes to meetings:
Rule #1-If it can be shared in an email, don’t have a meeting about it.
Countless hours of valuable work time are wasted sharing information that could be provided in an email. Nothing kills productivity and motivation more than listening to a leader drone on about “agenda items” that sound more like a public service announcement.
I know, you may be thinking, “Well, how will I know if they read the email and paid attention if I don’t tell it to them face-to-face?”. You have to train them and hold them accountable. You can attach “read receipts” to emails, ask them to check off their name on a Google doc, or ask them to reply to your email to ensure that they read the email. The truth is, you can’t ensure that they paid attention to you face-to-face either.
Agenda items should be action items, not the passive sharing of information.
Rule #- Create a detailed agenda.
This is KEY to a successful meeting. The agenda should include:
- Purpose- why are you calling the meeting and what is the intended outcome.
- Participants- list each person present.
- Time/Date/Location of the meeting
- Meeting Norms (see Rule #3)
- A Table that contains:
|Time||Action Item||Facilitator||Intended Outcome||Notes|
|8:00-8:30||Team Building||Jane Doe||Continue to foster the teams’ relationships.|
|8:30-9:15||Data Dig||John Deer||Disaggregate most recent data and make decision about intervention groups.|
|9:15-10:30||CPR Training||Mary Bell||Certify all group members in CPR.|
|10:30- 12:00||Update Strategic Plan||Mike Moore||Look at the strategic plan, determine progress towards goals, make adjustments and plan for next steps.|
Rule #3- Create Meeting Norms
Don’t assume anything! If you want to have a productive meeting, it is imperative that you create meeting norms. I suggest you do this as one of your first meeting agenda items. It is extremely helpful for team members to create this list together to have full buy-in.
Be sure that you cover all of your bases on how you expect the meeting to be conducted. Norms such as, “We will begin and end on time” let everyone know that you value their time so they will give their all during that time. Be sure that every member honors the norms, including YOU. Nothing will crush group norms quicker than a leader not adhering to the norms.
A few other examples of meeting norms are:
- We will value and consider differing opinions.
- We will actively participate and add value.
- We will put away all electronic devices during the meeting so that we can be fully present.
- We will work to actively build relationships with other members
If a member is not adhering to the norms, it is very easy to remind them of the norms they agreed to in order to keep everyone on track.
Rule #4- Location, Location, Location
Be sure to choose a meeting location that provides a productive work environment. You want to encourage collaboration, communication, and productivity. And in order to achieve those things, you need to consider:
- The size of the space. If it is too big, it loses the intimate feel that a team needs. If it is too small, it will kill creativity, comfort, and collaboration.
- The arrangement of the furniture. Be sure to have furniture that encourages collaboration. Team members need to be able to rearrange tables and chairs for different activities or meeting needs.
- The temperature of the room. This may sound a bit excessive, but there have been studies done that show that the ideal room temperature for productivity can vary slightly however, most people find a temperature between 72-76 degrees Fahrenheit ideal for maintaining productivity.
Rule #5- We’re All in this Together
The top leader should not be the only meeting facilitator. Delegate portions of the meeting to other leaders and team members. By giving them a leadership role in team meetings, you show them that you are confident in their abilities and at the same time, you take some of the load off of yourself. It’s a win-win!
Rule #6- Share Wins
People like to be recognized for the work that they do. Great Place to Work states that recognizing their great work helps to you to retain your top talent, increase employee engagement, and encourages high performance. Who doesn’t want that?
You don’t have to be the only one who gives recognition. Involve your team members and let them share the praise as well. When colleagues recognize one another, it instills a culture of excellence.
Rule #7- Be sure to include Team Building.
Meetings aren’t just for working on tasks. They are also a great place to work on the culture of your team. Be sure to build in time during each meeting to do a short team-building activity. They can be fun, energetic, and full of laughs! Does that sound like a boring meeting to you?
There are a ton of great ideas that you can find with a simple Google search. Here are some fun ideas to try at your next meeting from We Are Teachers.
By following these seven simple rules, you can design and facilitate effective meetings with your team. You will find that team members look forward to meetings, are more productive during meetings, and carry the work back into the workplace with fidelity. We would love to hear about your success with these steps!
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