Whether it’s a meeting you’re running or one you’re attending, meetings make up a huge part of working life, so here are 10 rules to ensure that you get the most out of any meeting.
1. Be prompt
It’s number one for a reason! Whilst for some people arriving 5 minutes after the agreed time doesn’t matter, most people don’t like to be kept waiting and you are likely to find that most people won’t wait for you. Show you value their time; don’t be late!
2. Don’t cancel last minute
There is nothing more frustrating than being cancelled on last minute. Don’t say yes in the first place if you know you’re likely to cancel, it’s better to be honest and upfront. If you really can’t attend, then try to give as much notice as possible and make sure you take ownership for rescheduling.
3. Put your phone and laptop away
Responding to emails on your phone throughout the meeting doesn’t say to others “I’m important because I’m so busy,” it says “I’m not interested enough to listen.” If you can’t resist checking your mail every 5 minutes then leave your phone at your desk!
4. Introduce yourself
This may take a little bit of courage, especially if others around you are more senior or it’s your first time in the meeting. However, introducing yourself personally helps create instant bonds with people and gives you an air of confidence. Remember, if you’ve been invited to the meeting then it’s because you have something valuable to contribute.
5. Understand cultural rules
Get familiar with local customs and rules as you’d be surprised at how much this can vary from country to country. This is particularly important when running an international meeting, with a large diversity of participants to ensure that it’s as inclusive and effective as possible.
6. Be conscious of your communication style
Some people like to talk through their ideas and others like to reflect beforehand, so be conscious of your style. If you’re a talker then just let people know you are “talking things through” and if you’re a reflector, then ask for a few minutes to think before contributing.
7. Prepare an agenda
An agenda adds structure and flow to a meeting, even if it’s just headline themes. Be sure to send any agenda out enough in advance so that others can prepare if necessary and if it’s not your meeting, then feel free to ask for one beforehand. Don’t be afraid to keep others on track with the agenda if the meeting is going off course, they will thank you for it!
8. Be clear on expectations
Make sure that everyone is clear at the beginning of the meeting on the intended outcome. This will ensure that the meeting stays on track and that it’s as effective as possible. Check in at the end of the meeting to ensure you’ve reached your outcome.
9. Encourage others to contribute
Sometimes meetings can be dominated by one or two individuals and some individuals will wait to be invited to speak before doing so, if you notice quieter colleagues then invite them personally to share their ideas. Be sure to ask open questions throughout the meeting and to check in with everyone at the end to see if anyone has anything else to add.
10. Only schedule the necessary time
Meetings take up a lot of people’s time so only schedule the time you need. Don’t stick to the traditional 60 minutes if it’s not needed. Scheduling shorter meetings will also keep everybody on track and engaged.
Do you have any tips for successful meetings? Let us know in the comments below.
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Photos: The Blonde Salad, Pinterest
Written by Hayley Wintermantle.