Last week I presented a session for the City-County Communication & Marketing Association’s annual conference here in Minneapolis. The presentation was called “Be the Meeting Hero Your Organization Needs.”
I was asked to share some tips from my book, Meeting Hero. With limited time, here’s what I said to the audience.
You are communications people. Meetings are a communications tool. Therefore, you ought to be the champions for better meetings within your organizations.
I suggested that they could lead great meetings to provide shining examples that others could follow.
I also proposed three initiatives they should lead. Perhaps you want to put these on your to-do list. Someone needs to lead the charge. Why not you?
Create a common set of ground rules
While you may think good meeting behaviors are common sense, don’t count on that to serve as a guide for participants. Spell out the ground rules for how people are to behave in meetings. They can always be tweaked and amended on a meeting by meeting basis, but you can start by creating a basic set of guidelines that can be posted in all meeting spaces.
The rules help keep things on track. They should be:
Here are a few of my favorites:
- Start the meeting on time.
- Say what you need to say in the meeting, not after.
- Stay on topic.
- Let people finish their comments prior to jumping in.
- Invite others into the conversation.
Publish a list of meeting guidelines for leaders
Many meetings should never have happened in the first place. Others go off track when leaders fail to follow the most basic list of principles.
Establish some structure about how to run a meeting. Think of it as saying this to all prospective meeting leaders: “You can call a meeting, but you need to follow these requirements.” Here’s my list of 12 meeting rules your organization ought to adopt today.
Establish facilitator training
Sure people have a vague idea of what they are supposed to do to run an effective meeting. Too bad they don’t do it.
The problems are a lack of discipline and courage. These can be established through skill development and practice. Your organization needs to set a simple goal:
All meetings will be led by a skilled meeting facilitator.
Make it your concern to provide people with the training they need to build skills and confidence.
What are your waiting for?
It’s time to go to work. These initiatives will create much better meetings. They only need someone to get them off the ground and moving forward. That someone is you.
If you need help, I’m standing by and willing to be of service.
Image credit by Woodleywonderworks via Flickr (cc)