According to a recent article, the average office worker spends at least 35% of their work time in meetings. More than a third of the work day! And to make things worse, executives consider more than 67% of meetings to be failures. Unfortunately, meetings are often a necessary part of the work day and are hard to avoid. With that in mind, how can we foster effective meeting facilitation?
Before I left the corporate world, one of my projects at work had involved me chairing weekly meetings. This really helped me hone my meeting facilitation skills. Today I’ll be sharing some of the best practices I employed to make them as effective and efficient as possible.
Before the Meeting
Proper meeting facilitation starts before the meeting.
First, ensure the right stakeholders will be at the table. If needed, survey the audience to see if anyone else should be included. If so, have the right person extend the invitation or do so yourself. Understand which participants are required (versus optional!) and reschedule if required. The key here is to make sure the meeting can actually happen! The worst is when a meeting breaks up after a few minutes because key people aren’t present.
Next, set an agenda and include meeting objectives. I like to include this in the body of the meeting invite itself. This way, if the invite is forwarded, all attendees have full visibility.
Third, be clear as to any prerequisites. For example, if participants are supposed to read or review any materials ahead of time, or to speak to any particular items, make this clear and provide ample prep time.
Last, ensure the venue or meeting room is booked and can effectively meet your needs. That includes having the capacity for your meeting numbers and the right technology (internet connection, projector screen, etc.)
At the Meeting
I always recommend kicking off the meeting with some context, sharing the meeting objectives, and reviewing the agenda. This gets everyone on the same page. Also, if the group is convening for the first time, initiate a roundtable of introductions.
Throughout the meeting, take notes (I love this notebook!). Be sure to capture key points or take aways. Also, keep track of time. If the group gets off track, encourage them to table the discussion and take it offline.
Reserve 5-10 minutes at the end of the meeting for final questions and to align on next steps.
After the Meeting
If relevant, send meeting minutes and/or action items to the team. Also be sure to address any immediate next steps, for example, booking in follow-up meetings.
There you have it – my tips for effective meeting facilitation. What are yours? Leave me a comment below and share your advice!
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