Let’s have a meeting! – Communicating Effectively
Meetings can be a Dickensian see-saw of “the best of times and the worst of times”. Chances are, if you are the team leader, you’ll need to organize one at some point. This is an opportunity to communicate in very clear terms what the future will be for anyone tapped to attend one of your meetings. Your personal signature can be made up of many things but there is no way your meeting behavior, organization, or pace isn’t going to quickly give you a label. The only variable is whether you want that label. For the purposes of this suggestion, this is a meeting run by you, the team leader, and not one you are attending as a peer or direct report. Different rules, different times.
If had to boil these down to a few specific pieces of advice, it would be the following: (1) Agenda is required. Don’t even think about doing it without one and unless you have pre-circulated it, revealing it to the group as you sit down is the same as not having one. The exceptions are those meetings that have a standing time/purpose with a predetermined agenda that never changes (Budget, for example) and that all the participants know the drill. (2) People have to know when this thing will end, what will happen if we don’t get through everything on your agenda, and under what conditions you will go long. Guess what? Everyone else has a life and a job too. Respect that. (3) Lastly, write down what happens. A good agenda can facilitate the wrap up of a meeting by identifying the differences between agenda items (discussion vs. decision), but people who weren’t there, like the boss, need to know. Meeting summaries are great places to identify deadlines, deliverables, responsibilities, future decisions, next meetings, etc.,.
As a final piece of advice, meetings are opportunities for talent spotting, and staff development. Use them to give your team an opportunity to shine whenever possible.
Here’s a final quick slideshow on some meeting dynamics….