If you found your way to this post, our guess is that you understand how ineffective meetings can waste time and frustrate attendees. You have probably held a meeting where participants are not prepared and instead, everyone tosses around ideas, seldom reaching a concrete decision.
This checklist will help you be a great meeting host, making your meetings more effective and productive. Just think: If everything gets covered on the meeting agenda, numerous follow-up meetings will not be necessary.
I. Planning the Meeting There is a famous quote by Benjamin Franklin, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” The top reason many meetings are unproductive is due to lack of preparation. Here are some essential components that will set you up for an effective meeting:
Seek input from team members in advance, then select relevant topics for the meeting Meetings have a greater chance of team participation and, therefore, success if all parties feel involved and valued.
Create an effective meeting agenda More than 60 percent of meetings operate without an agenda, which is the foundation to a successful meeting. It is the guide to help attendees know what will be discussed and how they should prepare.
Send the meeting agenda at least 24 hours in advance Encourage participants to read through the agenda before the meeting by giving them enough time to review it.
Use a platform like Microsoft Teams for pre-meeting discussions Meetings should focus on decisions. Use software with a chat feature to discuss topics beforehand so when it comes time for the meeting, everyone is prepared to make those decisions.
II.Running the Meeting Time to take it up another notch. Follow these important steps for a smooth-running meeting.
Be on time As the meeting organizer, you want to be even a few minutes early. Set the expectation for the rest of the team and start on time, even if some attendees are late.
Keep the meeting on track Off-topic discussions often happen in meetings. Add a parking lot bucket to your meeting minutes for all topics that need to be discussed later and assign a timekeeper to stay focused on the agenda topics at-hand.
Facilitate and direct dialogue and questions It can be a challenge to manage participants talking over one another. Use hand raise features built into most meeting tech platforms (such as Speak Now for Microsoft Teams by Decisions) and voting functions (like Vote Now from Decisions) to coordinate an organized discussion.
Take clear meeting minutes Effective meeting minutes are vital: they provide a reference of the topics discussed and decisions made and indicate important tasks, assigning an owner and a deadline.
Restate meeting takeaways At the end of the meeting, restate the decisions that were made and assign tasks to ensure everyone walks away with the same understanding of meeting outcomes.
Survey attendees to assess what is and is not working The key here is to ensure recurring meetings do not become status updates and instead facilitate meaningful discussion and decisions.
III. Meeting Follow-Up How often have you left a meeting and forgotten what was discussed? The most overlooked element of most meetings is the follow-up.
Distribute meeting minutes to all participants Meeting minutes with task assignments and deadlines should be sent to all attendees the same day as the meeting.
Add tasks to a shared project management platform Platforms like Microsoft Planner, Trello or Asana are useful for tracking individual and team-assigned tasks. (Did you know Decisions can automatically do this from the meeting minutes?)
Remind team members of their tasks Make a note in your calendar to remind task owners of upcoming due dates (Decisions does this automatically). Dedicate time at the start of each meeting to review pending and upcoming tasks.
Implement this checklist and start having better meetings today.
Take It One Step Further Download Decisions from AppSource today to experience a more efficient meeting process, increasing engagement and productivity.