Contributor: John Aymes
- Setting an objective everyone agrees upon
It may be one thing to have a meeting for a specific purpose and to stick to that but if everyone in the meeting is not interested in the purpose or the outcomes then it defeats the purpose of sending off an agenda in the first place. Shared objectives help those in attendance to plan effectively in advance and also equip individual participants with enough info to evaluate the direction of the meeting as it goes along. With everyone empowered this way the chances of the meeting running off the rails is decreased.
- Assigning of specific prep points
Give individuals homework to prepare before the meeting, no matter how small. This way they have a contribution to make toward the agreed upon focus of the meeting and it helps the meeting planner re-evaluate if that person needs to attend the meeting to begin with. Giving homework is a great way of sourcing fresh, individual ideas that are not contaminated by the group. ‘Individual brainstorming’ is a great technique to help maximize the grey matter in the room and shield the majority from the stronger, dominating personalities.
- Paying attention to issues as they arise
Staying on course and focusing on the agenda does not mean dismissing issues as they arise. In most cases the purpose of the meeting is to fill in the blanks and find out what unforeseen contingencies exist. Make an effort to ‘stick a pin’ where potential action items arise. This not only makes the meeting more effective by creating action items for further meetings but it also shows participants a level of commitment on the part of the meeting leader.
- Leveraging collaborative technology where possible
There are many reasons why mobile devices can be a distraction in the meeting room. However, there are many applications that improve the effectiveness of meetings by enhancing collaboration and documentation. See our previous post on mobile meeting apps.