The skill of ‘effective meetings’ is not just about running a good meeting. This skill allows you to make the most of the resources dedicated to a particular meeting topic. It includes how to prepare for, execute and follow-up on critical meeting objectives.
- I can prepare for an effective meeting – meeting objectives defined, participants identified, meeting logistics secured
- I can execute an effective meeting – using resources appropriately to meet meeting objectives.
- I can execute appropriate follow-up and hold others accountable as needed.
Key Learning Points:
- Effective meeting skills include the ‘before, during and after’ stages. Preparation in advance is a key step to making the most of your meeting resources (both time and people). Meeting execution flows naturally from the plan. Post meeting follow-up is required to ensure key decisions or next steps are implemented.
- Learning how to prepare for and run an effective meeting is a skill that improves with practice. A solid approach to learning the skill is to follow the Learn, Do, Review steps.
- Learn – Use the resources included in this document to better understand what is needed to have an effective meeting. This link is an excellent step by step description for Conducting Effective Meetings. Don’t forget to start with the most critical question of all, “Do I really need a meeting?”
- Do – Once you’ve learned about what it takes to have an effective meeting, execute all steps: plan the meeting, run the meeting, follow-up.
- Review – Include a step in your meeting to ask for critique, what worked well and what did not work well. After the meeting reflect on this input and your own personal observations and jot down points to incorporate into the next meeting. This can either be things you would improve upon, or things you would not change because they were effective. Both of these are important.
- Two other ways to learn this skill include:
- Take note of what works and doesn’t work for meetings where you are a participant. Even if you are not the leader, you can learn a lot by paying attention to what others do.
- Think about who you have seen run effective meetings. Set up time to learn from them in a 1:1 setting (e.g. a short phone call or in person discussion). In particular, find out what they do ‘behind the scenes’ both before and after the meeting. These are important elements of an effective meeting and not readily apparent to the participants.
- Do You Really Need a Meeting? Before proceeding to prepare for an effective meeting, an often overlooked critical question needs to be answered – Do you need a meeting to accomplish your objective? Some points to consider:
- Are you simply sharing information? If so, will a written summary meet the need? Or is interaction required to ensure full understanding? (e.g. training)
- Are three or more people required to accomplish your objective? If not, will a phone call or email meet the need?
- What would happen if you didn’t call a meeting? Or waited until the next scheduled one to occur?
If you confirm that a meeting is needed, the following link provides a very clear, concise roadmap to learn how prepare for, execute and follow-up on an effective meeting.
- PAL. Each meeting and each topic should have a PAL (purpose or objective, agenda or process and length of time needed). See the Agenda Template below.
- Meeting Minutes. Meeting minutes are helpful for complex meetings and important decisions. They serve to help the group memory. See Meeting Minutes Template below.
Exercises for Older Teens and Adults:
- None at this time.
Exercises for Younger Teens (13-16):
- None at this time.
Questions to Encourage Critical Thinking:
- Do I really need a meeting?
- Is the decision making process clear?
- Do I have the right people invited?
- Have I considered meeting roles such as facilitator or note taker? See One Point Lesson below.
Tools and Templates:
Web Articles/Short Stories/Essays:
- Conducting Effective Meetings on University of Kansas Community Toolbox
- Seven Steps to Running the Most Effective Meeting Possible by Neal Hartman on Forbes.com
- How to Organize and Run Effective Meetings (pdf) by Marlene K. Rebori
- In Praise of Stand Up Meetings on Business Management Daily.com
- No recommendations at this time.
- Effective Meeting in Plain English by Greg Fainberg on YouTube
- “Meetings get a bad rap, and deservedly so – lost are disorganized and distracted. But they can be a critical tool for getting your team on the same page.” Justin Rosenstein, co-founder of software company, Asana
- “Meetings without an agenda are like a restaurant without a menu.” Susan B. Wlison
- Effective meetings don’t happen by accident, they happen by design.
- Even good meetings can be better.
Summary 2-page Lesson Examples:
- None at this time.