by   Steve Roche

In a nutshell

1. Preparation

  • Get clarity on the outcome or goals of the meeting
  • Set a time and venue
  • Only invite people who need to be present
  • Talk to the attendees to set expectations
  • Prepare the attendees with agenda, briefing notes, attendee list
  • Organise a note taker or scribe
  • Who else do you need to run the meeting?
  • What else do you need, for example equipment, product samples?
  • Make sure people can find the meeting
  • Prepare yourself so you are in an excellent state to do a great job


2. Meeting location

  • Lay out the room to support your outcome for the meeting
  • Use a different layout from what is customary, just for a change
  • Remember to provide water and comfortable chairs if it is more than just a short meeting
  • Control temperature and lighting so people can focus on the task at hand


3. Opening a meeting

  • Make people feel welcome and make introductions
  • Get people communicating and comfortable
  • Make any safety and logistics announcements
  • Discuss the purpose of the meeting
  • Establish continuity with previous meetings
  • Establish ground rules


4. Providing a process to complete tasks (macro)

  • Provide an agenda
  • Guide discussion
  • Capture issues and actions


5. Providing a process to complete tasks (micro)

Intervene to assist progress by

  • defining problems
  • asking questions
  • keeping people at the right level of detail
  • balancing participation
  • keeping people ‘on task’ relevant to the agenda
  • summarising
  • checking for consensus


6. What to do if things aren’t working well

  • Confront the issue. It won’t go away
  • Seek group help and consensus on the issue if appropriate
  • Manage a blame free environment
  • Be gentle, but firm
  • Take a break while you gather your thoughts on what to do


7. Closing a meeting

  • Review agenda
  • Review outstanding issues
  • Review actions
  • Evaluate how it went


8. Managing the output

  • Format the output in a way that people can most easily use it
  • Send it out to attendees and any others who need it


9. Following up

  • Close with the meeting sponsor
  • Reflect on how you can do better next time


10. Regular meetings

  • Keep them fresh by injecting something different into each one
  • Keep them relevant to current issues
  • Avoid groupthink
  • Ensure people are getting value from each meeting


11. Attending a meeting

  • Should you even attend?
  • Prepare so you can contribute effectively
  • Arrive on time
  • Ensure that you understand the purpose of the meeting
  • Follow up on any actions assigned to you
  • Learn from the meeting, however well or poorly it goes