Personal Development – Conducting Effective Meetings
Meetings are important and integral to every organization. Conducting effective meetings is a key skill for personal development and is required to be a good leader. This skill can be acquired by following some simple steps to move ahead in our professional lives. Meetings can be a useful communication tool.
We all participate in meetings at various levels to discuss our work, vision, goals, and targets, how to implement plans, and so on. As a team member or a team leader, we are often a part of meetings held in the organization. As a team leader, you are often holding meetings to discuss certain matters related to the functioning of your team and it is a regular phenomenon.
A well defined purpose, preparation done beforehand, setting goals for the meeting and following-up are critical aspects. A clear understanding of objectives to be accomplished is essential to an effective meeting.
Rajesh is a Senior Manager with a reputed telecom company. He has a good rapport with his team and his bosses. But, when he is holding a meeting, he struggles with almost every aspect of it. He often starts late, is not able to finish on time, is not able to stick to the main agenda and ends without any conclusion. He fails to understand how he can improve upon this aspect to enhance his professional skills.
Holding effective meetings (and fruitful meetings) is a skill that every leader or manager should possess. It enhances your personality as a supervisor and you even feel more confident while addressing others. Well, it’s not that difficult. Just keep a few things in mind and practice them while conducting effective meetings and you will see the results:
Skill # 1
Have a definite agenda for your meeting and when everyone comes in for the meeting, share the same with them. Start by introducing yourself, if anyone in the room is not familiar with you, give a brief introduction about yourself. Then you can tell the participants why you are holding a meeting, for how long the meeting will continue and what you intend to accomplish out of the meeting.
It will give participants a clear outline as to what are they trying to achieve through this meeting. If people know that a subject that is important to them will be raised, they are less likely to interrupt and make attempts to introduce this topic at inopportune times. This is vital with respect to the agenda.
Skill # 2
Always be punctual for the meeting and encourage everyone to be on time. Start your meeting on time. It will give your team a clear message that you are focused and punctual and they will not come late. Begin right on time. Do not penalize the people who were there on time by waiting for others who are late.
Skill # 3
Encourage open discussions. During the meeting, allow everyone to express their views freely and get input from everyone. Do encourage participants who are shy and do not express freely like others. Do not dominate the meeting. Make it interactive. Keep the discussion on track. A key job of the meeting leader is to keep bringing people back to the issue.
Skill # 4
Do not move away from the agenda . This is a common phenomenon during meetings that we often loose track. The discussions always move away from the main point and that results in a waste of time. Stick to the point and if the participants are drifting away, bring their focus back to the agenda.
Skill # 5
Have your facts and figures in place. If you are discussing something related to numbers, make sure your figures are up to date and you have all the information with you if someone asks about it or if it is required. It will also save time and you will look more prepared and professional in your approach.
Skill # 6
End your discussion with an action plan in place . When you are coming towards the end, make an action plan for the future based on the discussions held in the meeting and if possible email the same to all the participants after the meeting.
Skill # 7
Summarize and end your meeting on time. Do not end the meeting in a haphazard manner. Always summarize and conclude towards the end, discuss further courses of action and try to finish it on time. Thank everyone for their participation. Do not end the meeting without thanking everyone for being there and sparing their valuable time for the meeting.
Skill # 8
Always give and take feedback. Tell all the participants how you felt being a part of the discussion and also take feedback from other participants about the same. It can help you improve.
We are not born with all our skills perfectly in place, but learning one skill at a time will bring about better personal development. With time and effort, we can acquire the essential skills for success and growth if we intend to do so. Remember, there is always a scope of improvement and we can learn at any stage of our life. Personal development is taking responsibility for your own learning.
These points will not only help you in conducting effective meetings, also, you will be looked upon by your team for professionalism and efficiency. Holding effective meetings need structure and order.
Bringing in these elements in practice, one can achieve anything in a set time. With a set goal, defined agenda and proper involvement of participants in the execution, you can get proper output from every meeting you chair!