How To Conduct Effective Meetings

Government grants for small business

Small business and government grants resources home
Small business and government grants resources home

How To Conduct Effective Meetings

1. Have somebody in charge who people respect and will defer to.

For better or for worse, this is the most efficient way.

2. Have each attendee or key attendees have something to REPORT, not just discuss.

This creates ownership and responsibility.

3. Do most of the work of the meeting BEFORE the meeting itself.

It's hard to get work done/alliances made/problems solved DURING a meeting -- take care of most of this 1-1 before the meeting itself.

4. Start the meeting on time, every time.

And, don't accept comments from those who are late. People will learn soon enough to be on time.

5. Schedule some meetings WITHOUT formalized agendas.

These would include brain storming sessions, open forums, etc. A formal agenda would squelch input and creativity. A highly valuable meeting doesn't have to be oriented around/justified by a preset agenda!

6. Schedule random meetings, not just regular ones.

Staff meetings at 8am every Monday, don't always work well. Folks get into a routine, get bored, etc. Schedule meetings designed to accomplish something.

7. Have the first 15 minutes be chatty, catch up time; then get into the meeting.

Warm everyone up by casual chatter for the first part of the meeting. this releases any pent up energy in the room, leaving folks more open.

8. Schedule TeleMeetings and Chat meetings, not just in-person meetings.

Some meetings are BETTER if they AREN'T in person/onsite. Use teleconferencing and web chat rooms when possible.

9. Don't make the meeting a production.

Slides are cool; handouts are nice. But they are expensive and may not really cause the type input/collaboration that meetings are best for. Ask yourself: "Am I trying to educate/impress/enroll folks or do I need their help to solve/create something?" If the former, do the dog and pony show; if the latter, don't.

10. Label the TYPE of meeting it's going to be on the announcement memo.

Is the meeting going to be a discussion? Or a reporting session? Or a brainstorming opportunity? Or a value-added session? Or a problem-solving one? Or a crisis one? Give attendees the CONTEXT for the meeting, not just the time, date, location and agenda.






How to Complete Your Work

Complete work means that whatever task you're doing is being done so perfectly and thoroughly that nothing about it is unclear, confusing or not fully thought out by you or when communicating with another.

1. If experiencing a problem:

What system needs to be installed to prevent this problem, its brother, sister and cousin, from ever coming your way again?

2. If sending an email:

Assume this person is extremely overwhelmed and barely remembers his name, much less what I emailed him about earlier, what can I include in my email to him so that he clearly understands what I am saying, what I am asking for and what's really important that he get -- whether he asked for it or not.

3. If asking for something;

a. Tell the person exactly what you need (Size, shape, name, format, version). b. Why you need it (the context, background, problem). c. How you want it (fedex, email, immediately, later, by when).

4. If instructing someone:

Assume the person is an idiot and will misunderstand what you're writing unless you spell out each step distinctly.

5. If closing the sale: Double close and triple close by:

a. Asking what concerns they have. b. Sensing and responding to what they aren't saying, questions they have. c. Being in touch with what YOU'RE feeling.

6. If asking for a change:

a. Condition the change. b. Tell the person why you're making a change. c. Tell the person what you want them to do and by when. d. Offer support/access/Q&A time.

7. If surprised by something:

a. Ask yourself why you were surprised; why didn't you know beforehand? b. Ask yourself what it means; is it good or bad; serious or not. c. What is the risk that has been added or that is potential?

8. When presented with an opportunity:

a. Ask yourself how this might bring down your business. b. Notice how you are responding -- adrenaline, greed? c. Ask yourself how this opportunity might cost you in other areas. d. Ask yourself if it's really worth it.

9. If informing someone of something:

a. Give the who, why, where, how, when, and what of it in the first paragraph. b. Ask yourself how what you are saying might be misheard and cause fear. c. Ask yourself the questions that any reasonable person would ask themselves when reading what you just wrote and then weave in these answers to your communication.

10. If reacting emotionally to a situation:

a. Ask yourself why you're reacting; what does this bring up for you? b. Ask yourself: Is the other person a jerk? And if, so, why are they in my life? c. Respond with a request that the other person act differently. d. Take responsibility for your PART in the matter. Emotional reactions don't just happen on their own. It may be a dynamic/racket that you created, even without meaning to. e. AND FINALLY, notice where you didn't do complete work somewhere along the process, that got you to this upsetting place right now. Fix that and you'll fix the upset


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