How to Lead a Business Meeting
Until a month ago, I thought I was pretty effective at leading business meetings. And then I did a one-day workshop called Transforming Meetings in a Thinking Environment based on the work by renowned, groundbreaking Author, Nancy Kline. I blogged about it here.
The guest post below highlights so much of what I learned at that meeting – making sure all meeting participants are comfortable, thinking in pairs and many more brilliant tips. Enjoy!
How to Effectively Lead a Business Meeting
Guest Post by Suzanne Elly
As you look out at your employees, they stare back at you, and instead of seeing alert, attentive employees, your employees’ eyes almost seem to glass over as they wait for you to signal the end of the meeting. Then, someone yawns, and loudly.
This is not some rock concert where you automatically hold the attention of your audience just by showing up. No, this is a serious business meeting and you are at the helm.
However, at this moment you need their attention. You could bring in a bullhorn and blow it every time someone even looks like they are nodding off.
A better solution, though, would be to sharpen up your business meeting skills to lasso in not only their attention but to engage them as well.
By coming to your meeting with a plan to engage your audience, you encourage your audience participation.
For more information regarding tips for effectively leading a business meeting, please read the following.
Hold your meeting in a space that is both comfortable for attendees and functional for the event.
The room should contain the requisite technological fit-outs, in addition to furnishings that encourage discourse. For this reason, you want to reserve professionally staffed meeting rooms to promote the best opportunity for you to engage with your audience.
Servcorp meeting rooms, for example, are outfitted with the latest technology and the finest furnishings making it a comfortable, inviting environment for holding business meetings.
When sending out notices for meeting dates, prepare attendees by giving them your objectives. These objectives do not have to be a lengthy list, but as a courtesy to your co-workers, objectives prepare them for the topics to be discussed at the meeting.
Furthermore, these objectives allow your participants an opportunity to include possible topics for an agenda. Whether you are having a meeting regarding pay raises or holding one regarding holiday leave, you should always prepare co-workers by informing them of the point of the meeting.
Effective meetings always provide a list of topics to attendees. The main reason for creating an agenda is to let your audience know the direction of your conversation.
Not only does the agenda benefit your audience, but it also aids as a time tracking tool in keeping the conversation on task. With an agenda, you avoid the conversation turning to more tangential, and often unrelated, topics.
Question and Answer
As to avoid keeping everyone at a meeting longer than necessary, tabling all questions until the end of the meeting is another time saver. Often times, meetings are longer than necessary because questions that might or might not be related to the meeting interrupt the flow of the discussions.
By first finishing the topics to be covered in a meeting and then addressing questions later, the only people that have to stay longer are those who need clarification. You essentially save your employees valuable time by not holding the entire office in a meeting for questions that concern a few people.
One of the reasons the office meeting can be so stale is because attendees are often required to sit for a long time as information is conveyed to them. There is no interaction between speaker and listener, and as opposed to provoking thought and analysis, these meetings promote slumber.
Even if it is just to flesh out ideas in pairs, use this as an opportunity for them to engage in cooperative work by placing them in pairs and getting them talking to each other.
Not only does it give them time to decompress some of the information they have already received, but it also breaks up the rut of them passively listening to a speaker.
Effectively Lead Through Active Engagement
For people to hear what is being conveyed in a meeting, they have to be engaged in the topic and the listener. To get your team prepared for any meeting, prime them by giving them a list of the objectives and getting their input.
By the time of the meeting, you will find yourself skating through the conversation, and the once glassy-eyed appearances of your employees will be transformed into the alert faces of co-workers engrossed by your discourse.
Over to You
How effective are your meetings with your team? Is everyone interested, inspired and involved? Please add your voice to the conversation below.