Meetings are notorious for being long, monotonous, and unproductive. While there is surely a stereotype that leaves people groaning at the thought of attending or presenting a meeting, it doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, with the right preparation, meetings can be a successful method for problem-solving, collaboration, and developing new ideas! Here are a few tips that can help you lead an inspiring meeting.
Have an agenda
A well-organized outline can make or break a meeting. By clearly mapping out the proceedings to come and emailing the agenda to colleagues who plan on attending, you give your attendees room to anticipate how the meeting will go and prepare their thoughts.
Once you know your meeting structure, it’s time to determine how each topic will be presented. Every person should have an assigned role prior to the meeting that is included in the agenda email. Establishing roles brings focus to your meeting. Each member has a responsibility and opportunity to express their findings, which can help prevent a meeting from being derailed.
Create the right environment
Ambience is key to creating a good meeting space. How many people do you plan on having attend? What is your meeting’s goal? Asking yourself these questions can help with planning where you want the meeting to take place. Below are three possible spaces for leading a meeting:
A shared office space is an ideal option for a more relaxed meeting or brainstorming session. Depending on your agenda and the number of attendees, you may want to choose this option if you plan on discussing ideas or working through the preliminary stage of a project.
If your meeting is more informative than interactive, a training room might be the perfect way to relay information to a large group of attendees. This type of meeting space allows everyone to see and hear the presenter, work in small groups or participate in a discussion.
If your meeting is formal or needs a more serious tone, a traditional conference room may be the best option. With various sizes of conference rooms available, you can present a final plan or discuss a serious issue in a more formal setting.
Use a variety of learning styles
Every person is different, so it makes sense to prepare a meeting that adheres to a variety of learners. Not only does this take into consideration the attendees and their unique needs but changing the pace as you lead your presentation can liven up what could otherwise be yet another monotonous meeting. Here are a handful of techniques you can use to engage attendees:
Create a visual presentation
PowerPoint is the classic tool for creating a presentation. Other tools such as Canva, Keynote, emaze and Prezi allow you to create interactive, creative presentations. Find the tool that works best for your company and matches the tone of your meeting.
Small group exercises
No one likes to stare at a screen or listen to someone talk for an entire meeting, so you can prevent this by dividing up in to small groups. Collaborative activities are a great way to encourage mental attentiveness and engagement.
Use a whiteboard
It sounds simple but using a whiteboard can change the pace of your meeting by getting people up and moving. Writing ideas during a brainstorming session, making notes on ideas or writing down questions can open up room for discussion and collaboration.
Leave room for input
Ask for feedback throughout the meeting to increase engagement. In contrast, if you want to prevent interruptions or save time, leave room for questions and thoughts at the end of your presentation. Create a “parking lot” list if attendees bring up off-topic discussions or raise questions that would better be covered in another setting.
After your meeting, it is always a great idea to send an email follow up to those who attended. Use this opportunity to summarize key parts of the meeting and any next steps that were discussed. Following up soon after the meeting will help attendees retain the information covered and encourage them to continue to think on the topics discussed.
Final notes on leading a meeting
Running a meeting does not have to be a daunting task! With the right outline, environment and designated roles, all attendees can feel like their voices are heard. Focus on preparation to ensure the content of your meeting is solid and free of any unnecessary distractions. With all of these elements in place, you can walk away feeling like you led a successful meeting. Above all, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from your attendees. Asking for input can help you improve for your next meeting!
How can Executive Workspace help you lead your next meeting?
If you need meeting space in the Dallas, Fort Worth or Austin areas, Executive Workspace has a variety of options that meet your needs. Choose from various sizes of meeting spaces, conference rooms, boardrooms and training facilities across all of our locations. Your guests will be impressed by our beautifully furnished and decorated meeting spaces as well as our supportive staff and complimentary beverages. Book meeting spaces and conference rooms for an hour, day, week or more!
Article by Allie Ogletree