As you take on more responsibilities in your life as an adult, you may need to run an effective meeting someday. You are working up the ladder. You are so fancy! But with great fanciness comes great responsibility, and how you run a meeting will show your employees or colleagues a lot about your skills as a leader. Let’s say you’re the manager of the Fancy Donut Company, a business we just made up and also a good excuse to buy donuts as props. Here are some steps to hosting a darn good meeting.
10 Easy steps to run an effective meeting
1. Get specific
Why are you having this meeting? Is it a normal part of the workweek, or do you need to address some special kind of issue?
No matter what, make sure that your meeting has a specific goal, like, for example, assigning all of your employees the donuts they’ll need to make for the next week.
2. Deal with bad news
Do you need to call a special meeting to break bad news? Maybe the Fancy Donut Company will need to stop production on Bavarian creams because they’re not as hot of a seller.
It will only make your employees miserable if you call a big mysterious meeting and then let them stew in confusion for too long. If it’s bad news, make sure the meeting happens as soon as possible.
3. Write an agenda to run an effective meeting
Write an agenda for your meeting! This will feel super dorky if you’re hosting a meeting with, like, three people, but I guarantee it will be handy later.
4. Set a time & stick to it
Set a time for that meeting and stick to it like a glaze! Set an example by showing up a few minutes early and preparing your materials.
It’s bad form to be late to your own meeting, but if something unavoidable happens, let your employees know ASAP so they understand that you respect their time.
5. Have everyone silence their devices
As soon as the meeting starts, ask everyone to silence their phone. This is a good way to kick off the meeting with a focused tone. We’re getting down to business!
6. Keep the meeting focused to run an effective meeting
Keep the meeting focused on the topic at hand. You are the boss of this meeting! There will be no off-topic threads! Stay focused!
Be willing to gently but firmly tell people to stay on point or wrap up if they’re going a bit long.
For example, Suzy may be extra concerned about cake donuts, but this is a chocolate donut meeting. Have her talk to you afterward so you don’t take up everyone’s time.
7. Make sure everyone participates
Make sure everyone has had a turn to participate in the meeting! Even in the best workspaces, it can be easy for one or two people to dominate the conversation.
You never know if someone might have a good idea but they feel too shy to speak up.
8. Keep the peace to run an effective meeting
Be prepared for disagreements. Not everyone is going to agree on every topic, and that’s okay. If you’re lucky, and the participants are respectful of one another, arguments can be productive and ultimately lead to a solution that everyone agrees with.
In some situations, though, arguments can be unproductive, and it’s part of your job to keep an eye out for that. If there’s an argument about something that doesn’t need to be decided A.S.A.P., it’s okay to table the discussion for a later time.
Some arguments are resolved if people just take time to chill out and think it over. Some arguments, though, are never solved. Unfortunately, we can’t fix that one with a YouTube video. At least not yet.
9. End your meeting
Once the designated goals for the meeting are met, end that meeting! Yes! There are very few meetings so fun and delightful that people are not glad to get on with the rest of their day. Except, maybe, a donut meeting. Those are pretty consistently fun and delightful.
10. Follow up
Ugh, sorry, I thought we were done, too. I know. Anyway, even attentive listeners can be confused about what was decided in the meeting.
Email everyone who attended or touch base with them to make sure they know what’s going on moving forward, and get cracking on those donuts!
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