- While there are many principles involved in holding productive meetings, I've identified six that are essential. Throughout this course, we'll be weaving in ways to use these six principles in your meetings. As I share these with you, think about which principle or principles you need to improve your current meetings. The first principle is purpose. Each meeting should have a clear purpose. Unfortunately, many of you have experienced meetings that are held simply because someone felt it was a good idea to have a meeting.
The principle of purpose suggests that every meeting should have an objective, a reason why you're having the meeting. Before scheduling a meeting and inviting others to attend, first ask yourself this question. What is the result I want from this meeting? The second principle is time. In other words, how long should the meeting be? We'll take a look at figuring out an appropriate amount of time for your meetings. While there's no hard-and-fast standard for meeting length, there is a general rule of thumb that applies to nearly every meeting, the shorter, the better.
Meetings will almost always take as long or longer than you schedule them to last. Short and concise meetings, kept to schedule, force participants to make wise decisions about how to use the time during the meeting. If you need additional assistance with time management, I also recommend you schedule time to go through my course Time Management Fundamentals. The third principle is agenda. An agenda is simply a step-by-step outline for participants to follow in the meeting.
Agendas can help wrangle unruly meetings that drift aimlessly. We'll take a look at a suggested agenda you can use as a starting point. We'll also explore ways to use the agenda so every attendee can participate and have a voice in the meeting. The fourth principle is preparation. Prior to attending the meeting, every participant should take a few moments to prepare their questions and consider how they can serve others.
I'll give you easy tips to make preparation very simple, something that takes no more than a few minutes, but has a big impact on improving meeting effectiveness. The fifth principle is focus. Focused meeting participants stay true to the stated purpose. Focused meeting participants stay engaged in the meeting. They listen, remain attentive, and avoid multitasking. Many obstacles get in the way of meeting focus, making it easy for meeting participants to be distracted.
You want to utilize strategies to reduce these distractions. And the sixth principle is leadership. Who is in charge of the meeting? The meeting leader may be an executive, a manager, or a designated meeting facilitator. Regardless of who that person is or what position they hold, every meeting can benefit from having a leader. The leader ensures that the other five effective meeting principles are followed.
They keep the meeting on target, so it accomplishes its purpose. They help ensure that the meeting begins and ends on time. The leader keeps the meeting on agenda and helps others prepare for the meeting and stay focused. The more you can use these six principles, purpose, time, agenda, preparation, focus, and leadership, the more successful and productive your meetings will become.
- Plan how to use technology successfully in your meetings.
- Determine how to select and support a meeting leader.
- Prepare what you need to make meaningful commitments in a meeting.
- Identify successful ways to initiate a meeting.
- Propose challenging ideas while promoting and maintaining healthy relationships.
- Delegate and coordinate work successfully.
- Follow up consistently to create a workplace culture of accountability.