Guide to effective business Communications

How to run a meeting

Establishing an Objective and Sticking to it

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Efficient and successful meetings.

There are good meetings and there are bad meetings. Bad meetings drone on forever, you never seem to get to the point, and you leave wondering why you were even present. Effective ones leave you energized and feeling that you've really accomplished something.

So what makes a meeting effective? This really boils down to three things:

  1. They achieve the meeting's objective.
  2. They take up a minimum amount of time.
  3. They leave participants feeling that a sensible process has been followed.

If you structure your meeting planning, preparation, execution, and follow up around these three basic criteria, the result will be an effective meeting.

1. The Meeting's Objective

An effective meeting serves a useful purpose. This means that in it, you achieve a desired outcome. For a meeting to meet this outcome, or objective, you have to be clear about what it is.

Too often, people call a meeting to discuss something without really considering what a good outcome would be.

  • Do you want a decision?
  • Do you want to generate ideas?
  • Are you getting status reports?
  • Are you communicating something?
  • Are you making plans?

Any of these, and a myriad of others, is an example of a meeting objective. Before you do any meeting planning, you need to focus your objective.

To help you determine what your meeting objective is, complete this sentence:

At the close of the meeting, I want the group to ...

With the end result clearly defined, you can then plan the contents of the meeting, and determine who needs to be present.

2. Use Time Wisely

Time is a precious resource, and no one wants their time wasted. With the amount of time we all spend in meetings, you owe it to yourself and your team to streamline the meeting as much as possible. What's more, time wasted in a meeting is time wasted for everybody attending. For example, if a critical person is 15 minutes late in an eight person meeting, that person has cost the organization two hours of lost activity.

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A guide to effective communcation
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