On my last post on meetings, I discussed refining the purpose of your meetings. Today I’m going to discuss setting up your meetings for success.
The required activities to ensure an effective meeting, start before your meeting is even scheduled. It is important that you set expectations and ground rules with participants beforehand to ensure attendees understand how the meeting will be run. Here are some questions that you need to resolve and communicate:
- How are you going to ensure the right people are at the meeting?
- How are decisions made?
- What happens when action items don’t get done?
- What is the format of the meeting going to be?
I made the mistake once, of assuming that a positive response to a meeting invitation in Microsoft Calender was enough to ensure that someone showed up for a meeting. I was a bit naive. If you must have someone at the meeting, ensure you send them a personal invitation by either email or phone. Preferably by phone, or if really important, in person. Ensure they understand how critical their presence at your meeting is.
Without clear ground rules addressing how decisions are made… decisions usually don’t get made when there is disagreement about a solution. Here are some ideas on how decisions can be made:
- Majority rules (don’t forget to address who can vote)
- You decide
- Escalate to a higher level and they decide (they better know how to make decisions)
- Thumbs up/sideways/down. Thumb up = agree. Thumb down = disagree. Thumb sideways = I can live with this solution, even though I don’t totally agree. The group cannot move forward until there are no thumbs down. If someone won’t budge, elevate to a higher level for resolution.
Have a clear process for escalating issues or tasks that don’t get done on time. If you do this beforehand, people will know what you are going to do if they don’t get done what they agreed to. You could escalate to their boss, your boss, or a group of interested stakeholders. You should check with your boss on what he or she thinks would be appropriate. If a specific individual is chronically late, there should be a process to handle this also. It may be they are overworked, or lazy. Either is not good and to run effective meetings this needs to be addressed.
This should not be new to you. Your meeting, in most cases, should have an agenda, minutes, note taker, tasks/action items and issues.
All the best!
All the time!