As a Leader will be obligated to give a presentation or conduct a meeting at one point or another. Without the proper preparation, you could end up not only wasting 45 minutes or more of your time but the valuable time of other attendees as well. Attendees, by the same token, must remain actively involved otherwise they could potentially miss out on important information or topics. I know it seems like a daunting task but don't worry, with these 6 basic processes that detail How Leaders Conduct Engaging Meetings you'll be on your way to outstanding productivity and mission accomplishment in no time. Let's begin:
1. Preparation is key
I've said it before in many of my articles, but it is important to every leader that care be taken in this phase as it is the most important. Preparation will make or break the meeting. Clearly define the meeting agenda while outlining objectives:
Set a date and time for the meeting, then provide adequate notice for attendees. Duration of the meeting should typically range from 30 to 40 minutes. This timeline is important because the average adult can only sustain attention on one thing for about 20 minutes at a time. Although, they can choose to refocus on the same thing repeatedly. This gives you about 5 minutes a piece for your opening and closing as well as an extra 10 minutes to keep the group engaged when they start to wonder.
Assign tasks for yourself and participants. Organization and structure will make or break your meeting. It is important for there to be an overall structure for the gathering in order to maintain focus on the objective as well as to make the best use of time.
Limit Attendees. Be sure that only those pertinent to the objective are present. This is to facilitate time management as well as keep topics on the objective. Designate a scribe to take meeting notes and side notes or simply take them yourself. I recommend designating someone as this will allow you to be better focused on the discussion and its general flow.
A little side tip. For video conferences be sure to triple check ALL connections and setup prior to the meeting in order to avoid any delays or downtime.
2. Time is crucial especially for Leaders
You as the Leader or Chair person should arrive at least 5-15 minutes earlier than the allotted time. This is to ensure that participants aren't waiting on you, the meeting can start on time, and any last minute adjustments can be made if needed.
3. The Leaders opening must grab participant attention
Make valuable use of an attention gainer whether it be through an interesting article, funny story, quick video or any method of engagement. An Article posted by Kevin McSpadden cited the fact that people now generally lose concentration after 8 seconds, highlighting the affects of an increasingly digitized lifestyle on the brain. Leaders have 8 seconds to gather everyone's attention before the meeting even starts. Use use this time wisely.
Thank everyone for attending as well as showing up on time. Not too many people enjoy going to meetings so it is important that you show your appreciation for them taking time out of their schedules.
Identity milestones since last meeting, congratulate key players. As a mental note this serves to show attendees that these meetings serve a purpose and are in fact making a difference. Congratulating key players also improves morale besides everyone appreciates a good pat on the back from time to time.
4. It is important for Leaders to establish the meeting agenda outlining objectives as well as clearly define participant expectations
This is the perfect opportunity to encourage participation as well as respect the opinions of others while they are speaking.
5. Leaders guide the discussion by maintaining a steady flow
It is important that the meeting be consistently focused on the agenda and its objectives. It is equally important that each member provides input and that the focus of the discussion remain on topic.
Focus on the positives during the meeting and address deficiencies offline. This goes without saying but acknowledge the members accomplishments in front of others for that immediate boost in morale and discuss their deficiencies in private.
Create a parking lot for side topics and issues. Occasionally, a member of the group will bring up a topic that is not a part of the agenda. Be sure to take not of what has been addressed in a respectful matter. Then guide the discussion back toward the objectives of the meeting. Otherwise you could end up spending more time on the wrong topic than allotted. Following the meeting, schedule a date and time with the member in order address the concern or issue.
Clearly identify decisions and action steps. Following every topic be sure that the outcome is clearly stated and understood as to avoid confusion. Hold key members accountable for action steps by clearly identifying the members that are suitable for the completion of the assigned task.
As the meeting comes to a close this is the perfect opportunity for a brief recap. Review any decisions that were agreed upon as well as any takeaways and actions steps. Re-identify key members that were designated to accomplish those action steps.
Things to remember:
- Take the extra time to prepare
- Organization and punctuality is paramount
- Remember that YOU’RE the leader of this meeting, be confident when you speak
- Allow for more productivity especially when members are speaking
- Stay focused on goals and objectives while keeping the discussion on topic
- Remember everyone’s view counts
- Don’t forget to take notes
- Always summarize while clearly creating accountability
Hey everyone it's Ashton! I want to thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you found value in this article, please like and share using one of the methods below. We'd be happy to hear any comments or recommendations that you may have. Please use the contact page or comment box below to get in touch with us. We look forward to hearing from you. Take Care!