In a typical organization, managers and senior executives spend a majority of their work time in meetings. They meet with employees and discuss important work matters and issues. Email and memos are good tools of communication, but a meeting is a lot more effective when issues require in-depth discussion.
However, surveys report that almost close to half of those meetings are not totally productive and are even a waste of time for employees. Nevertheless, meetings are deemed essential for quick discussion of goals and tasks. So managers and even meeting facilitators must have the proper skills to proceed with an effectively managed meeting.
Rules of Meeting Management
A meeting may turn out to be poorly facilitated sometimes but this can be corrected in the future sessions by observing the rules needed in managing meetings. Meeting managers must make sure that these guidelines are clearly implemented and understood by everyone.
The first rule is to hold meetings the way you want other managers to run the meetings that you attend. As a manager, you must have various experiences with meetings already. So, you should know what things to avoid that can mess up a meeting and what things to observe in order to succeed in a meeting. If it is your turn to conduct the meeting, make the most effective session you have ever attended the model for your own meeting.
Preparation on both your role and your participants is the second rule in managing meetings. Your preparation can start with creating a meeting plan and things just follow through from there. For your participants to come prepared for the session, you have to send out the meeting agenda beforehand so they can have time to review and conduct a research on the topic if there is a need to.
Next, sticking to a schedule is an important rule in running meetings. Start the meeting on time with no considerations for latecomers. If your members know you as a time-conscious manager, they will make it a point to be punctual. Do not tolerate extensions in your meetings; people will get used to it and will more likely abuse the time allocation during discussion.
The fourth rule is to stay focused on the topic. Always redirect any sidetracked conversations and off-the-track issues. Better yet, assign a discussion leader for every topic.
The fifth guideline in meeting management would be to refrain from unnecessary meetings. Have a high consideration for work productivity of the individuals.
Lastly, wrap up your meetings properly. A quick recap must be run through to announce important decisions made and remind participants of any task and accountability.
Key Roles in Managing Meetings
There are three primary and fundamental functions of a meeting manager: planning, leading, and evaluating.
Planning a meeting requires creativity. In creating a meeting plan, the key factors are meeting purpose or focus, meeting agenda, meeting participants, and meeting schedule. Make sure that there is a need to hold a meeting and condition your members that a meeting is not just a typical office ritual but it is an event where work is discussed.
In leading a meeting, a manager must possess the required facilitation skills. Always encourage participation from the members.
Meeting evaluation is important to identify areas of the meeting that need improvement so that the next series of meetings will be even better and more effective. For larger meetings, allocate a few minutes before ending the session to elicit the feedback of the participants regarding the course of the meeting.
Well-Managed Meetings with Proper Time Management
Proper time management skill is an important ability of a meeting manager when facilitating a session. In conducting meetings, the manager does not have the luxury of time and the whole day to be talking about the agenda items. These participants were just pulled out from their work desks to attend the meeting. So, value for time must be observed. A poorly managed meeting is not just a waste of time but also a waste of work resources.
Managing meetings may not be an easy task but once you get to understand the importance of having meetings, these sessions will contribute a lot to the success of the organization.