By Jean Kelley
Any meeting you conduct at work is a reflection of you. What kind of image are you portraying? Professional, on-target and efficient? Or unprepared, unproductive and ineffective?
Unfortunately, few people receive formal training on how to conduct a great meeting, and this lack of training is apparent in conference rooms across the country. Between meetings that ramble on with no agenda and no action steps, to participants feeling bored and questioning why the meeting is even taking place, it’s no wonder so many people dread going to meetings.
To conduct a meeting that boosts your credibility and helps you achieve your self-storage company’s goals, keep these 10 meeting tips in mind.
1. Do You Need a Meeting?
Before sending the meeting invites, define why you’re having the meeting. Is it really necessary? Is there another way to accomplish the result? If you have a small department or group of attendees, perhaps a “stand up” meeting will suffice. In this case, you simply get everyone to gather in the hall, say what they need to know, and then everyone disbands within five minutes. It’s a quick, painless and highly effective way to get a message out.
2. Set Expectations Prior to the Meeting
If a meeting is indeed necessary, create the agenda and send it out prior to the meeting so your staff is clear on what’s going to be covered. If multiple topics are on the agenda, include a time allotment for each item. Also, list a meeting adjournment time—and stick with it. The more detailed you are, the more professional you look.
3. Facilitate Well During the Meeting
The facilitator’s job is to keep the meeting running smoothly, make sure everyone gets a say, and lead people through areas of conflict. Realize that no meeting “runs itself.” You need to lead people through each segment of the agenda and work for a resolution to each area of discussion.
4. Beware of Parkinson’s Law
As you facilitate, keep Parkinson’s Law in mind: “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” The same is true for meetings. If you’ve set an hour for the meeting, chances are it will drag on to fill that time slot. To keep this from happening, announce at the onset, “If we get through this agenda before the adjournment time, we all get to leave early.” Make that the goal, not the posted adjournment time.
5. Allow Conflict
If the goal of your meeting is to solve a problem, then conflict is inevitable. Welcome it. A good facilitator will recognize when emotions get too high and will step in to keep the meeting on track. But don’t strive to avoid conflict. Nothing gets solved without first having a conflict of ideas.