How to Conduct an Effective Meeting: 7 Keys to an Excellent Team Meeting

February 21, 2012 by  Filed under: Management 

Meeting matter and every day in business eleven million meetings take place. Research suggests half of them are wasted time. Statistics show the 79% of professionals do other work in their meetings and 39% admit to dozing off for a few minutes. Obviously there is room for improvement. If you conduct positive and helpful meetings you become invaluable to your team and company.

Set an agenda with a key objective: What needs to be accomplished in the meeting? Meetings are held to:

  1. Update
  2. Train
  3. Coach
  4. Communicate
  5. Review and analyze
  6. Recognize
  7. Problem-solve

One of my customers asked me to do a customer experience meeting with his third shift team starting at 10:30 pm. He was having trouble with their productivity. I agreed. I showed up to the meeting to rearrange the room so it was conducive to positive communication. I had all materials ready with an agenda. Some team member arrived a few minutes early, and I welcomed and recognized each person as they did. Most slouched in their chairs as if this was going to be a boring event. The manager arrived right on time said hi to me and told his team, “This is Rick, he will do the meeting. Pay attention.” Then the manager went home.

Sound like a nightmare? However, within 10 minutes everyone was engaged and we had an awesome meeting. I continued meeting with them over a period of time to solve key problems. Together, we achieved significant productivity and quality gains. Why was I able to do that? Review the points below that helped me.

Know your purpose and create an agenda to achieve it. For example, in sales departments, a weekly sales meeting is often held to: share results, review plans and marketing efforts, praise sales leaders, train on sale skills and motivate. Send the agenda out ahead of time if you can or re-confirm it at the beginning of your meeting.

Set a timeline and keep to it. Start your meeting on time and end on time. One phenomena that is happening today every where is the extended phone conference. The schedule may say thirty minutes but it ends up being sixty minutes or more. This happens so often today it’s an epidemic. A timekeeper can help keep the meeting on track.

Engage the participants. Each person at the meeting can add value. Some are always more involved than others. Use group discussion techniques to help everyone get involved.

Focus when you start. Begin discussing the key agenda items. Get input and make a decision. You may need to give assignments for follow-through and follow-up.

Facilitate effectively. As the leader of the meeting you must: be a good listener, allow others to talk, moderate the time for all input, praise contributions, handle disagreements constructively, give feedback that is helpful, and build consensus successfully. This takes practices, study and training.

Take notes. It’s helpful for the leader if someone else is assigned to take notes to record results. Then the leader can focus on the meeting. Few people have a perfect memory and with note-taking you will have a record of decisions achieved in the meeting.

Review key points at the end. This helps to reinforce decisions and next steps. Too often different people will have different perceptions of what happened. This steps minimizes this concern.

As a meeting leader you must pay attention to the content of the meeting-this is the specifics of the topic. You also have to understand the process of the meeting-how people work together in the meeting. Always evaluate your effectiveness and what you can do to improve. These seven points will go a long way in helping you improve your meeting delivery so you not only accomplish more but leave your team feeling like your meetings are valuable.

By the way, do you want to assess or learn more about the strengths and weaknesses of your leadership skills so you can improve today?

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Or, do you want to learn now how to be a superstar leader to achieve dynamic and sustainable high performance increases with your team?

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Rick Conlow is CEO with WCW Partners, a management consulting and training firm. Rick has helped organizations increase sales 218%, improve repeat and referral business by 20%, increase customer retention to 99%, reduce complaints by 60% and achieve 34 quality awards. You can reach Rick at: or 888-313-0514.

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