Training Consultants: Despite the majority of our day spent dealing with e-mails, phone calls and memos, meetings are still one of the most effective methods for us to share and exchange information, get feedback, plan and collaborate on important decisions.
With all these benefits, why do some of us have a hard time accepting meetings? It seems that meetings are starting to gain a reputation for getting longer, becoming more frequent and generating fewer results. As your employees are being taken away from their primary responsibilities, they become frustrated when no clear results were achieved from the meeting.
The truth is that many of us must accept that a significant portion of our working day will be spent in the meeting room. With the tools and knowledge to properly facilitate an effective meeting, you can significantly enhance employee productivity and engagement. As a training developer consulting firm, we adhere to a guide used by our top training consultants on how to organize and facilitate effective meetings. Among the numerous corporate training programs vailable, learning the key elements to facilitating effective meetings has become one of the most valuable.
Below, we touch on two important elements: the purpose and structure of a successful meeting. These useful approaches and tips are sure to help guide you down the road to successful meeting facilitation.
Purpose of a Meeting
Before any meeting, training consultants suggest you first determine the purpose of the meeting. Without a clear purpose, meeting deliverables are vague and success cannot be measured.
Generally speaking, there are three main purposes of a meeting:
- When the purpose of your meeting is to inform, you want to create awareness by providing your audience with facts. You want them to know enough to feel confident.
- When the purpose of your meeting is to explain, you want your audience to understand why something was done or will be done. You are providing them with the reasons for a decision and creating buy-in by answering their questions. Particularly, you want to satisfy their innate question of “what’s in it for me?”
- When the purpose of your meeting is to persuade, you want to convince your audience to take specific action by touching their emotions in order to move them to a desirable action.
Structuring a Successful Meeting
Depending on the purpose and nature, meetings vary in length, depth and level of attendee participant. An underlying commonality among all meetings, however, should be the structure you follow. Below, our training consultants break down the structure and best practices to adhere to during each step.
- Opening: 10% of Time
- Remember the Three A’s: Atmosphere, Agenda and Attention. If you are meeting with someone for the first time, ensure they are invited into an atmosphere that is welcoming and accommodating. Have a clear and comprehensive agenda that will serve as a structure for the duration of the meeting. Lastly, grab the participants’ attention from the onset by introducing the topic with an enticing hook. Keep them engaged by using action verbs and asking relevant questions.
- Body: 80% of Time
- Introduce topics and solutions from an order of known to unknown. Make clear what actions have been taken, and what actions need to be taken in the near future. This will serve as an opportunity to clear any confusion and ensure everyone is on the same page. Ensure there is clarity between fact and opinion by stating facts as facts, and opinions as opinions. To increase buy-in, create interaction with attendees by getting input from all participants
- Closing: 10% of Time
- This is a perfect opportunity to re-emphasize the points which you mentioned in the body. Reinforce the purpose of the meeting by repeating benefits and verifying a uniform understanding. Wrap-up the meeting full-circle by asking questions.
There you have it from a training consultant! You first determine the purpose for the meeting, and you follow this by planning the structure accordingly.
Wait – that is not it! One is as effective as they are knowledgeable. Become a professional at facilitating meetings by downloading our FREE ‘Top 10 Best Practices for Facilitating an Effective Meeting’ checklist. Looking out for these 10 tops will help bolster your confidence and control as you lead various meetings.
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