to Hold and Participate in Effective Meetings
are a fact of our everyday lives, whether in businesses, organizations,
and/or clubs. How well we present ourselves and our ideas and how well
we work with others during meetings will determine our success in all
areas of our careers and lives. Unfortunately, many meetings are boring,
unproductive, and too long. As powerful presenters, how can we help to
turn this around?
Proper preparation beforehand assures meaningful meetings. Use an agenda as both a blueprint and a plan of action for every meeting. The properly put together agenda will focus the participants on the objective of the meeting and the means to achieve it. During the meeting it can be used as a guide and reference and after the meeting it will serve as a reminder of what was accomplished and what follow-up actions need to be taken. The agenda should state the objective of the meeting, the issues to be discussed, the time the meeting will begin and end, the place, the participants involved, and what is expected of each of them in meeting preparation. Careful preparation is the best way to keep any meeting on target and on time.
Every participant should come to a meeting with a brief, prepared message. By just answering other peoples questions or keeping quiet, you will not be taking part in the opportunity afforded by attending a meeting. By having a concise message ready and finding a time to present it will give you a chance to command respect and understanding. Your brief message should include a grabber opening, a main idea, and a call for action. It shouldnt be memorized or read, but do have the facts ready (it is OK to have notes on a 3 X 5 card). It should be a subject you feel strongly about and you should find out in advance if there will be opposition to your objective. If so, you will need to consider what the opponents main points will be and who your allies will be. Getting the right people on your side in advance will save endless time and lost causes.
Telling a personal story is the single most powerful technique in communicating your message. Under pressure at a meeting it is sometimes hard to remember what you are going to say. Not, however, when you tell personal stories. It is hard to forget your own experiences and it is fun to talk about them. It is also easy for the others at the meeting to identify with your story. Remember, it must be true the more dramatic and humorous, the better. Again, keep it brief and to the point.
Add visual aids when they will enhance the meeting. Pictures and props can be instantly comprehended, where words are not. So decide first if the meeting room is conducive to visuals and what kind of visuals would be best to reinforce a particular point. When preparing visual aids, make sure they are truly visual not just a lot of words and that they will save time and hold the groups attention. Use vivid images, careful preparation, a concise presentation, and silence during viewing and you will have made the meeting more productive for all those attending.
A successful meeting has four elements. They are firm time constraints setting the beginning and ending times and sticking to them; preparation of the agenda and what each participant will offer; proper presentation viewpoints presented in a clear, concise manner within a prescribed amount of time; and control the leader or facilitator controls the meeting with set priorities and a firm, but polite attitude from all involved.
Do you ask for written evaluations to determine the success of your meetings? Because we want to avoid meetings that lack results, it is a good idea to have participants answer the following questions:
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that you are
And don't hesitate to