I thought that I'd write down some of my thoughts just as a reminder to ensure that a meeting serves its purpose and runs smoothly.
Some of it is a bit Archangel Gabriel in desire - but if you aspire and do things in small chunks eventually you can eat an elephant......
- Do your homework - read all position papers in advance of the meeting.
- Write a bullet proof agenda. Don't be over ambitious - I've seen some agendas with 20 minutes to discuss a major strategic initiative. (See point 11 it may help) Stick to your agenda.
- Know who your allies are.
- Rehearse answers to awkward questions in advance.
- Take the sado masochists approach to meetings - give everyone a fair crack of the whip.
- If someone is quiet - ask them specifically for their view - especially if you know that they are an expert.
- Keep your meeting moving.
- Someone to take minutes.
- Agree and be clear about the next steps
- You are the ring meister - keep the lions in check.
- Get people to do position papers and then invite comment - it tends to speed up the process.
- When people come up with objections invite them to come up with two solutions.
- Build on what people say - don't be an idea killer.
- Leave people with a call to arms to take the matters forward.
- Remember the curse of Yes - you may need to check in with people to ensure they are positively acting on decisions reached in the meeting.
- People will agree a position in a meeting to conform to the will of the group - but all ready before they have walked out of the meeting they have already decided whether they will actively or passively support the initiative. (Have a look at my posts on the passive/aggressive organisation)
- Be a person of character - execute what you have agreed to deliver on in the meetings - ensure you can pass the shaving mirror test every morning.
- Ask what are we missing here - encourage people to take a deep dive at an issue.
- In a teleconference - ask people to say their name first before starting a point or joining the discussion.
- In a teleconference as for all meetings - people should be on time. (Punctuality is the politeness of princes my grandmother used to say).
He felt that if they had to be at the Town Hall to collect a £1m cheque and had to be there by 10.00 they would break down doors - and felt that it was highly disrespectful to your work colleagues to keep them waiting more than a minute.
I think though that this is probably a bit draconian in terms of locking people out of a room even though it made the point somewhat vividly.
I'm sure that people have a number of tips that they might want to add to this post. Remember you may not be able to do these immediately - it is something to aspire to - remember Rome wasn't built in a day but it was built.