As you move further up the career ladder and your responsibilities as an administrator increases, this inevitably means that you’ll at some stage be leading or facilitating meetings.
This could take many forms – from project team meetings to your own staff meetings. And when it’s your own staff meeting, your credibility is at stake.
Listed below are some tips to ensure that the meetings you conduct are professional and focused.
Ensure everyone is clear about the purpose of the meeting before the meeting eg to decide venues for the Christmas function.
This is so people can arrive at the meeting knowing exactly what’s going to be discussed and to allow time for them to do any preparation work.
This goes hand-in-hand with having a clear objective.
An agenda will list the topics to be discussed and who will be talking to that agenda item.
Meeting participants should be asked to contribute to the agenda before the meeting and a finalised agenda should also be emailed to the participants before the meeting.
Keeping to time
I’ve heard often that people will judge how good a manager is by how well they run a meeting. This includes keeping the meeting within its allocated timeframe and ensuring that there is adequate time within the meeting to discuss items.
A tip that can help you keep a meeting on track is having a suggested timeframe for each item printed on the agenda.
A wise meeting facilitator will understand the balance between allowing for a good discussion amongst participants, ensuring everyone has the opportunity to have their say, all points of view have been covered and probably one of the biggest aspects of successful meeting management is managing personalities (watch out for a future post on this). This can be a tricky area to manage, but meeting facilitators need to know when it’s time to rein in people without hurting feelings.
Probably the most understated skill of a facilitator is the ability to summarise discussion.
This should happen at the end of each agenda item. The facilitator should summarise the following:
- key points
- decisions made
- actions to be undertaken
- who is to do what and,
- by when.
If, as a facilitator, you:
- ensure there is a clear objective for your meeting
- have an agenda
- keep to time
- exercise control
meeting participants will speak highly of you as someone who runs excellent meetings.
Do you have any additional tips that are essential to being a good meeting facilitator?