What are the magic ingredients for a successful meeting? A meeting in which participants build relationships, exchange ideas, unearth insights, make decisions, and get the information they need to move work forward? We all know there’s no “magic” that comes without preparation and hard work. But there are five basic principles that underlie successful meetings. Incorporate these five meeting principles throughout the meeting cycle and watch your meetings bloom.
Different perspectives enrich a conversation, strengthen a team, and generally lead to better outcomes. Good meeting leaders establish a safe and open environment in which participants can voice their concerns. You don’t have to transform your entire organization’s meeting culture to make every voice count in your meetings.
Meeting preparation often starts with the meeting leader, but doesn’t end there. Team members also need to prepare for the meeting. As a meeting planner, you facilitate meeting preparation by creating a thoughtful agenda in advance of the meeting. But if you’re the only person who is ready for the conversation, you risk spending extra time during the meeting setting up the context, the conversation wandering aimlessly, and team members feeling lost, not needed, or that they’ve wasted their time. On top of all this, the objective isn’t met and you find yourself scheduling another meeting to continue this conversation.
How you begin and end your meetings can have more impact on its success than you might think. People enter the room (physically and virtually) with other topics on their minds. They may not even remember exactly which meeting they are walking into given a full day of meetings.
It’s critical to begin the meeting thoughtfully in order to support the mental transition into the meeting conversation. Similarly, the end of a meeting is often hurried with some people sneaking off to another meeting before this conversation has fully concluded. Ending the meeting with intention helps participants feel their time was well spent.
No matter how productive the conversation, if the meeting outcomes aren’t implemented, the meeting was, in some ways, still a waste. Next steps get left behind and decisions are forgotten, making it hard to continue the momentum. So why spend time clarifying follow up items if they are only going to be abandoned?
Take the time to develop a process that works for your team’s meetings. Creating a shared process will make it easier for everyone to support effective meetings. The time you spend upfront developing a system will pay off down the road. When you have a process in place, don’t let it grow stale; instead, continually reflect on and iterate the process.
Does your team practice any of these key principles? Which ones could you start implementing today? We’d love your feedback. Please comment below or tweet to @meeteorHQ. We look forward to continuing the conversation!