Tip of the hat to Amy Dolan of Lemon Lime Kids and Greg Carlson of Trinity International University- they both have taught me many of these principles and helped me prepare to be an effective meeting leader.
Principles of Effective Meetings
1. Start with inviting the right people (not people who “should” be there, but people who absolutely need to be there because they will contribute.)
Choose the team based on what each person will bring to the meeting. Let each person know why they have been invited before the meeting and when the meeting starts (in front of the rest of the team). This exercise gives each person a sense of mission and a sweet spot to use their gifts and talents as the meeting progresses.
2. Trust that by inviting the right people, the work will get done
When you invite the right people, you can be confident that the work will get done. Choosing the right team for the meeting based on the meetings objectives is the absolute best way to prepare for the best meeting.
3. Spend your time preparing to lead the meeting well
Think about transitions. Think through key questions that the team will ask. If a script will help, write one.
4. Set rules and some objectives
Here are some examples of rules I’ve set up for recent meetings:Think Big Picture, Stay on Topic, Please, One Conversation at a Time, Be Prepared or Prepare to Sing, No Caveats, Aim for the Fences, Defer Judgment. Before I lead a meeting, I review the rules.
I also give the team a reason for meeting. I feel like if I cannot come up with a compelling reason to meet, then the meeting is a waste of time. Also, given the meeting objective I give people the option to attend the meeting. If you cannot contribute to the objective, feel free to stay home.
5. Follow up personally
It is really frustrating to spend an entire day away from other tasks and relationships, working on ideas, only to find out that your time and effort meant nothing. The only way the team will know how much their work meant is if you tell them and give them action steps to take the project further down the road.