Running Effective Meetings
Is a meeting essential? Really essential?
- Clarify the purpose for the meeting, and its goals
- Determine who really needs to be there, and who doesn't need to be there
- Establish the agenda and send out a meeting notice
- The agenda should:
- Define the course of the meeting
- Divide the meeting into specific, manageable segments
- Specify the party responsible for leading each segment
- Specify the objective of each segment (i.e., information, discussion, decision, etc.)
- Specify the time allotted to each segment
- Word the agenda items in terms of the outcome to be accomplished by addressing that agenda item
- Examples: "Brainstorm list of materials required." "Decide on production time line."
Send out any necessary prework or preparation materials at least 24 - 48 hours in advance, include:
- Time and place of meeting
- Purpose of the meeting (i.e. decision, discussion, information sharing, policy, etc.)
- Meeting agenda
- Information/materials participants need to bring to the meeting
- Any background or briefing materials to help participants be prepared
Make logistical arrangements
- Meeting room
- Audio-visual equipment, flip charts, writing materials, etc.
- Start on time
- Facilitate the meeting: take steps to ensure the agenda and timeframes are met and the discussion is progressing toward meeting the objectives. Limit unnecessary/irrelevant questions and discussion. Encourage everyone's participation. Insist that an alternative is chosen on issues requiring a decision.
- Review the agenda and set priorities
- Stick to the agenda
- Come to conclusions! Make decisions!
- Assign responsibilities and establish target dates for task accomplishment
- Summarize agreements reached
- Evaluate the meeting
- Close meeting at or before the agreed on time
- Keep a written record
Dealing with difficult members
- Listen but do not debate. Interrupt a monopolizing member and move back to the agenda.
- Talk privately with members who continually exhibit disruptive behaviors.
- Encourage the group to share the responsibility for handling difficult members.
- Edit and distribute the minutes promptly. Alternative: Everyone leaves the meeting with the Action Form(s). (see attached)
- Encourage completion of tasks.
- Review tasks assigned at the next meeting for disposition (completed, more work, etc.)
- Put agenda items not completed at the meeting on the agenda for the next meeting.
Pay attention to how meetings run and for regular meetings develop meeting norms
- Enhance both task and process functions
- Simplify team management
- Prevent interpersonal and intrateam problems
- Express the shared group values
- Generate expectations about how the group will work together during the meeting(s)
- Develop written agreement
Enforcing Norms (progressive steps)
- Review the Norm(s)
- Give people feedback as to how they are performing/behaving compared to the Norms
- Reconfirm that the Norms(s) is still viable
- Direct compliance with the Norm(s)
- Implement sanction(s) for non-compliance
- Dismiss members who consistently do not abide by the Norm(s)
- Analyze the problem
- Agree on a need for change
- Set a new expectation
Sample set of Norms
- Be punctual
- Be prepared
- Stay focused
- Be open and candid with right to challenge anyone's intentions
- Support consensus decisions
- Obtain, acknowledge and document closure
- Manage conflict
- identify, define and clarify
- understand differences
- honor called for time-outs
- deal with issues, not people
- reach conclusions
- Solicit opinions
- No side conversations longer than 10 seconds