Meetings are just an essential part of doing business, right? After all, they foster collaboration, ignite ideas and move projects and tasks along; well, they’re supposed to. But a recent survey of 182 professionals across a range of industries showed that 71 percent of people felt meetings were unproductive and inefficient, while 65 percent say meetings just kept them from completing their own work.

So with meetings up high on the to-do list, but down low on the must-do list, why do we have so many of them and better still, how can we make sure that we have effective and productive meetings?

In this video I talk about why meetings are an integral part of doing business these days. And thanks to video conferencing technology, we can host these meetings across borders and oceans to the vast corners of the earth. They’re an inevitable part of the current, and future business landscape.

In essence, it really is the facilitator’s job to ensure a meeting is purposeful, efficient and directed. There are a few ways you can hone your facilitation skills to become a great meetings host, retaining the respect of your peers along the way.

Agenda

The agenda is the most important element a meeting. Whether it’s a large meeting or a quick 10-minute catch-up, every meeting should follow an agenda that participants receive prior to the meeting.

A clear and precise agenda gives context to the meeting, allows the delegates to prepare accordingly, and ensures they get the opportunity to add to the agenda before the meeting kicks off. This is a sure-fire way to tame the Grandmaster Meeting De-railer who loves to take a meeting off-piste, and be sure to list all of the meeting attendees along with the location and time.

Invitees

As the facilitator, it’s important to really consider who needs to be in the room. There’s nothing worse than sitting through a meeting that is not relevant to you, in which all you can think about is the huge workload waiting for you at your desk. Think seriously about your invite list, and mark non-essential but consulting attendees as ‘optional’ so they can choose to be there if it is within their current focus area.

Use technology

Use technology like video conferencing to your advantage and where possible, use this technology to record the meeting. This helps to involve essential parties who need to contribute to the cause, but who can’t make it on the day or time of the meeting. It also helps to value stakeholders time – as recording all details means you can make notes or take minutes after the meeting, keeping momentum up.

We’re here for a good time, not a long time

Set restraints around time management and be sure to block the interrupters. As the facilitator, it’s your responsibility to ensure the meeting runs on time, so you need to stage-direct the conversations. If Timmy from marketing is known to jump into his own agenda, and off yours, be sure to jump in and politely explain that you hear him, but that his is a conversation that this meeting is not long enough to accommodate. Promise to address his point another day, and bring the focus back to that day’s objectives. All participants will thank you – and be more likely to attend your meeting next time!

Engage them

If you’re facilitating – stand up! Use body language to assert confidence and keep your attendees engaged and focused. Keep the energy high and the focus on the purpose of the meeting (and not beyond). Whenever something comes up that is outside the meeting’s remit, note it down (preferably on a whiteboard or something everyone can see) and promise to circle back to it another day. Effective communication and facilitation like this will result in a productive, possibly even enjoyable meeting!

Want more insights on how to channel your confidence and host great meetings? Download our free 4 Steps To Owning Your Confidence Cheat Sheet, today.

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The Colin James Method® coaches and trains executives to improve their professional development with a proven methodology. Our coaches are recognised for their experience in their fields and have worked with many individuals and organisations around the world to master the art of communication.

Colin James

Colin James is a well-respected Educator, Keynote Speaker, Facilitator and Co-Founder of The Colin James Method® and Inner Profit Pty Ltd a vibrant leadership development company in Australia. Creating memorable, impactful world-class events that deeply influence the way people feel, think and behave is Colin James’ forte