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Make Meetings Great: 11 Rock Star Principles

Another meeting?  Ugh.  Arrgghhhh.  Most of us complain about meetings and here’s why – Most meetings are not well organized, are too long and lack a clear purpose. To become a Meeting Rock Star, here is what you need to know to host a great meeting –

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  1. First, ask yourself – is this meeting necessary? Could your goals or objectives be accomplished in any other way? Before pulling folks into a meeting be sure that it is the absolute best way to accomplish the goal at hand.
  2. Be consistent – if you hold your all staff meeting every third Monday of the month, stick to it. Consider briefer “check-ins” that may be 20 minutes on Monday morning and 20 minutes on Friday afternoon to keep your team up to date and focused on priorities.
  3. Create a time-coded agenda that is sent out to participants in advance so that everyone knows how to prepare properly.
  4. Make sure you are inviting the right people and be sure they all know what they are expected to bring, report on or opine about.
  5. Make space for the personal.  While meetings will have a professional, goal-focused agenda there is great benefit to encouraging some personal sharing in order to build the team’s camaraderie.  Start a Monday morning meeting with:  “What was the most adventurous thing you did this past weekend?”
  6. Set your own signature “ground rules” for your meetings. With your team decide on the principles that will guide behavior and conduct at your meetings. (Example: Listen Activity, Respect Others, Voice your Ideas, No Sacred Cows, etc.)
  7. Keep your meetings crisp, focused and no longer than is necessary. Start on time and end on time.
  8. Follow a format that works well for you and your team. For instance, here is a sample format for a 30 minute check-in:
    • Welcome, Introductions, Summary and Follow-up from Last Meeting (5 minutes)
    • Manager News and Updates (10 minutes)
    • Team Member reports (30 minutes total)
      • 2-3 biggest priorities for the month
      • Do you need help or support for those priorities – if so, what?
      • One key accomplishment in the past month
      • Biggest challenge and what you learned or how you overcame it
    • Next steps / Call to Action (15 minutes)
  9. Designate someone to take meeting notes. Those notes will be critical to following up on open items.
  10. It is always helpful to have a clear decision-maker present to avoid inaction.
  11. Every meeting should be action-oriented. All participants should walk away with concrete next steps or action items.

You’ll know when you’ve nailed these best practices because people will actually start looking forward to your meetings because they know they’ll get good information, a focused and clear agenda, and measurable outcomes.

Go forth Meeting Rock Star!