How To Run A Great Meeting
Today, I want to share with you some of the ground rules that I use to successfully run meetings, maybe they can help you too.
So, there are three that I really find useful, particularly when I’m chairing the meeting but, frankly, these hold true no matter what position you have in the meeting.
The first is…
What is success for that time you have together – half hour, hour, or whatever it might be. And then you want to check back in the middle, “Hey, how are we doing?” and then certainly at the end, “How did we do? Did we get there?”
Every meeting needs to have a purpose and defined success.
The second thing I like to do is to make sure that we’re all going to behave in, what I call, a neighborly way or, in a work setting, you might say a professional way. So I have some ground rules for that too. I like to say, “Let’s all be direct and honest, and at the same time, constructive and not combative because, remember, we’re all here to achieve this common goal.”
The third piece is about…
Managing air time
Really important, and that I like to call the “no home movie” rule.
Now, home movies are, imagine you’re going over to visit your aunt or a friend and they say, “Oh, look at this – let us show you the video of when Jamie was two months old”. You’re watching and you’re thinking, “Oh my god, Jamie is 45 years old now. Are we going to see every single clip for 45 years?”
So, it’s really about making sure that you don’t go on and on and on about “When I was back at Company X…” or whatnot. It’s really about not dominating the whole meeting but on the other end of the spectrum, also making sure you use the air time that you should have in the meeting, so speaking up, but it’s all about managing that.
The key to all of this is setting up these ground rules with the group at the start of the session, in advance, so everybody’s clear on this.
- Defining success; what’s our common purpose for the meeting?
- Secondly, neighborly or professional behaviour.
- And third, let’s manage our air time because we share that together, and time is the only thing we can’t get back.
So, get out there and the next meeting that you are running or chairing, remember to set out the ground rules up front.
And then share with us any ground rules that you come up with that are even better.
Nice job. I like your expression “home movie” – boy have I been on both sides of that.
Many thanks, Kevin.
Thanks May very practical tips especially the “manage the air time”, I find it hard to do it in real life to interrupt and bring people to the core of the discussion topic, there’s a lot to be learned to master this!
Is there also some merit in being more “selective” of whom you invite to the meeting? I have been in situations where a lot of the time is spent to “get everyone up to speed” but such pure “information giving” is probably not the best use of face to face meetings, where productive discussions should be held?
It is indeed an art to interject appropriately to keep a meeting tight and on point.
And yes, it’s helpful to have the right people around the table plus an agenda. Great idea to do as much of the briefing ahead of time as possible.
Maybe the topic of a future blog post…
Great advice. The other thing I’m observing more and more is folks interrupting and speaking over each other. Remote working adds further complexity to interjections ‘into the room’, made even more tricky to judge appropriately when the thread of the conversation gets lost in the background volume. Chairing and participating in geographically dispersed meetings is an increasingly important skill.
Such an important point you raise about remote working calls. It would be interesting to have every member of the call experience being the one who phones in remotely – that would go a long way toward helping people understand the dynamics.