Leaders, managers, and staff members often ask me how to run effective meetings and I share with them that almost anyone can do it if they create an environment where people want to talk and work together. Here are some key strategies to help you get started:
1. Set up an atmosphere for communicating. Everyone gets to say what they want, nobody is punished, everyone is safe to say what they want with no fear of retribution.
2. Everyone agrees to listen and only person talks at a time. When someone speaks other people simply listen. There should be no advice giving, rebuttals or contradicting. Everyone gets a chance to say what they want.
3. Everyone agrees that there is no such thing as a wrong comment or dumb question.
4. Everyone agrees to talk about the same amount of time. No one person monopolizes the conversation. No one person is more important than another.
5. We agree to communicate with each other respectfully, with a calm tone of voice, without harsh language and with no derogatory comments.
6. We agree that any information that is communicated will not be used against someone or to make them feel bad.
7. Keep it simple. Say what you mean, say it briefly and constructively.
8. Leave any personal agendas out of the meeting.
9. Keep it positive. Communication ideally builds a positive atmosphere that promotes solutions rather than only gripe sessions.
Each of these strategies requires practice and commitment from all participants but they are all achievable. Practice each one (one at a time) until you master them all and you’ll be on your way to enjoying positive, productive, effective meetings.