No one enjoys a meeting that lacks structure or usefulness, and it’s a sure bet that no one learns from that type of meeting. Still, meetings are a necessary part of every professional’s life. Here are some keys to grabbing your audience’s attention and getting your message across.
1. Plan — Be clear why the meeting is being held. Determine a precise objective and list the subjects to be discussed.
2. Agenda — Provide attendees with a written plan for what will be discussed, why it’s being discussed and what you want to achieve from the discussion.
3. Prepare — Determine the logical sequence of the subjects to be covered. Allocate time for discussions based on importance, not urgency.
4. Structure and control — State the proposition, produce the evidence and hear any arguments that may arise. State the conclusion and decide on an action. Make sure to start promptly, to follow the agenda and to manage the time. Maintain control of the discussion, but elicit participation. Help resolve conflicts that arise. Be open-minded and receptive. Ask questions to assure your understanding. In conclusion, clarify the action to be taken and summarize the meeting’s results.
5. Summarize and record — Take notes on action items and indicate the names of persons responsible for actions.