Meetings, bloody meetings. Some are a breeze – they fly by in a moment and have real purpose. Others, a painful slog, with no aims or outcomes. So you can feel like you’ve wasted an hour or more of your life. With this in mind we’ve put together five top tips to help you achieve meeting nirvana.
At Amazemeet, we know how to run good meetings. And we have helped numerous businesses hold those with purpose that deliver outcomes. One of the key ingredients to this is strong facilitation. Without an amazing facilitator to guide the meeting, you’ll feel like you’re on a sinking ship quicker than you can ask ‘who has the agenda?”
Use the Amazemeet Meeting Facilitator Canvas to plan better meetings
As soon as you’ve determined a meeting is necessary, follow Amazemeet’s handy Meeting Facilitator Canvas to plan it. It provides you with the fundamentals of meeting facilitation covering before, during and after the meeting and will ensure you delivery better meetings everytime.
Keep the meeting on track: agenda, actions and when to park
It’s important to share an agenda with agreed goals with attendees before the meeting, and reiterate them at the start. This prevents it being a stand-up show for the person that can shout the loudest, and ensures the right people are there.
Your role is to maintain focus on agenda items throughout the meeting and agree actions at the end of each point. If certain points are being discussed for too long or the topic travels off on a tangent, consider parking the item for another time, or the end.
Ensure that everyone has the chance to participate and share their opinion. A good facilitator will encourage everyone to speak up. Reviewing what has been agreed and drawing together shared ideas will help the meeting flow and assist quieter individuals in feeling heard. Supporting the airing of disagreements in a respectful manner can help hammer out shared decisions.
And in the spirit of keeping on track – always keep to time.
Choose the right meeting facilitator
As we are aware at Amazemeet, not all meetings are created the same, nor are facilitators. Be aware of strengths and weaknesses, and depending on the meeting content, ensure you have the right person to achieve what needs to be achieved.
A great facilitator will remain neutral and have the skills to review what is being discussed, even if there are wildly differing opinions. They will formulate a proposed way forward to be agreed by the group. You probably aren’t the right choice if you think only your ideas are worth hearing. They will be a good listener (be present and stop scrolling through Instagram!), ask probing and intelligent questions which help the group get to the bottom of niggling issues.
Amazemeet’s has a meeting facilitation tool that assists you meet your goals. After all, it is what makes us so special. So if in doubt, try us out!
Balance efficiency and effectiveness with personal warmth
We recently asked whether efficient or effective meetings were a route to better outcomes. While working on these elements, it’s important to remember you’re still a human!
During facilitation, particularly with people that don’t know each other, begin with a welcome chat (not an ice-breaker) to put people at ease, which leads into opening thoughts on the meeting. Bad facilitation is either too informal with no agenda, decisions or actions, or the other extreme: strict chairing with no personal warmth so people feel intimidated and don’t challenge the discussion or contribute.
Striking that balance is essential to make attendees feel engaged, listened to, and make the meeting worth their while.
Close the meeting properly: actions and next steps
As a great facilitator, you will ensure attendees aren’t left wondering ‘what the heck did we decide?!’ – you will draw the meeting to a close to help everyone to feel some closure. Ensure the session is summarised verbally, decisions and actions are assigned and written down, and next steps agreed which are also shared post-meeting.
If you think about these tips before each meeting , you’ll be on your way to meeting success!