If there’s one thing project managers at NATIONAL know about, it’s convening great conversations. Big or small, the only way to have a creative, constructive, and productive meeting is with careful preparation and some structure. These skills aren’t always taught in school or they’re simply labelled as “nice to have” rather than “need to have” but, they are my North Star in terms of maximizing meeting time and accomplishing big wins in business.
Here are some suggestions from our corporate communication experts so you too can run your next meeting like a boss:
Curate your attendees
Before hitting send on that meeting invitation, be sure every person in the meeting brings a unique perspective or is a decision-maker. Not everyone on the team or in the workplace has to be in every meeting, and multiple perspectives can help or hurt depending on the task at hand.
Send an agenda and any pre-reading in advance
As simple as this may sound, letting people know the topics of discussion in advance helps attendees 1) understand how important it is for them to accept the meeting invite; and 2) prepare their thoughts or bring applicable reference materials. It’s also just good manners.
If your team is especially busy, and having a hard time juggling conflicting projects and overlapping schedules, it is thoughtful and effective to set a 15-minute meeting for a pre-read, followed by the formal portion of your meeting. This way, everyone starts on the same page—informed and ready for discussion.
Set the room up for success
A simple rule to follow for any presentation is to tell them what you’ll tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them. The same is the case for a well-run meeting. The benefits of telling your attendees how long they’ll be there and what topics will be covered, will help everyone focus on the meeting itself.
This is also a good time to set any housekeeping rules—a go-to rule for us is setting the meeting as a tech-free to hold attention, or establish when breaks will be so people aren’t coming in and out at different moments unless they absolutely have to.
Take great notes
Creating a great meeting summary is an art form. And can take the progress you made in the room to actions in the day-to-day that follows. However, it doesn’t have to take a ton of time. The key to being efficient in this area is starting the memo before the meeting, completing most of it during, and just polishing it up after.
Sending the memo to all attendees and anyone else who needs to be in the loop within 24 hours is best practice to keep the ball rolling.
Set action items
Always reserve a few minutes at the end of your meeting to establish action items. These will also be included in the memo you send after. A great action item has three components: a description, who’s responsible, and a deadline.
Need help moving a big project? NATIONAL’s team of Corporate Communications consultants are here to help you take action. Looking to host a brainstorm? We have tips for that, too: Seven tips for hosting better brainstorms.