“By creating questions instead of statements for the team to consider, it allows attendees to better prepare.”
No matter how hard you try, meetings often tend to run off-track as attendees begin to discuss other topics or dwell on a specific one for way too long. That’s why meeting planners need to sets clear objectives beforehand and create an effective agenda that sets expectations about what needs to occur. Here are five key ingredients for you to plan effective meetings.
Choose Topics that Affect All Attendees
Make sure that the meeting focuses on topics relevant to all attendees, and try to keep the entire meeting to five topics or less. You can even create topics based on feedback from attendees so that you know exactly what they want to discuss to avoid any irrelevant topics being brought up.
Create Questions from Those Topics
By creating questions instead of statements for the team to consider, it allows attendees to better prepare. It also allows for the meeting to stay on track. Once a question is fully answered, then the group knows it can move onto the next question (or topic).
Note the Meeting’s Ultimate Purpose
Either in the initial meeting invite or at the beginning of the meeting, make sure to define the ultimate outcome for the meeting. Is it to simply share information, seek input for a decision or to make a decision? This will help attendees know whether to listen or to provide input or ideas for a certain topic.
Set Specific Time Allotments for Each Topic
Create a realistic schedule and adhere to it. Set specific time allotments for each one and make it clear who is to lead that topic of discussion. Make sure all attendees are aware of the schedule so that it doesn’t come as a surprise when you ask them to move to the next topic.
Conclude with an Improvement Question
If this team of attendees meets often, end the meeting with improvement questions, asking attendees to discuss what the team did well and what they can do differently in the future. Sample questions include: How well did the team stay on schedule? How well did the team answer the topic questions?