How to Keep Meetings Focused and on Track

Additionally, if the purpose of your meeting is to finalize an important decision, plan to spend the week prior discussing various options with decision makers and answering their questions. By getting buy-in from the decision makers in advance of the meeting you ensure that the meeting will run smoothly and be merely a formality in the approval process. meeting agenda template

Role Playing Keeps Everyone on Task

Meetings with more than a few participants can be difficult to manage. Defining and assigning basic roles beforehand will keep everyone focused, and help prevent time overruns. The three key roles are those of chairperson, record keeper, and timekeeper.The chairperson’s job is to follow the agenda and make sure all topics are covered. The record keeper is responsible for taking notes and compiling minutes. The timekeeper watches the clock and lets the chairperson know when it’s time to move to the next topic.

Dealing with Off-Topic Discussion

All meetings have the potential to stray from the original topic. Just as in everyday conversation, one subject leads naturally to another, and soon you’re discussing infrastructure upgrades instead of new acceptable use policies. In such cases, use the Parking Lot technique: make note of the subject then defer – or park – it for consideration at a later time. Handling off-topic discussions in a meaningful way sends the message that while the subject is important, it would be better to address it later.

Follow-Up for Better Feedback

Getting the most out of a meeting doesn’t end when participants head back to their offices. Follow-up quickly – within 24 hours – and distribute minutes to all attendees. Use the same format as your meeting agenda, with notes about actions taken, new action items assigned and their due dates, and a short sentence or two about each topic discussed.Successful meetings don’t happen by accident. With careful planning and execution, though, they can be effective and efficient. Learning to host a productive meeting will not only help accomplish your goals, it will also enhance your professional standing and earn you the well-deserved reputation as someone who gets things done.Mark Piscopo is the founder of ProjectManagementDocs.com, a website dedicated to advancing project management through the distribution of free project management tools, templates and educational material. Mr. Piscopo is a highly accomplished professional offering 20+ years of documented achievements in; Strategic Business Planning; Project & Program Management;

 

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