State why the meeting is being held
When sending out the meeting request, include the purpose of the meeting in direct terms. Don’t need to? Do it anyway just to be clear. It can only help to keep some uncertain participant from guessing. It can make some people feel safer going in to the meeting, enabling a better discussion.
You can also describe what kind of meeting it is supposed to be, for example is it a presentation, a brainstorm, “meet and greet” or a planning meeting? You set the frame!
Make an agenda
Make it a habit. An agenda for a meeting does not have to be anything special or detailed. Make sure you have:
- The topics of discussion listed in sequential order
- A goal. State what result you want to achieve with the meeting and it will help to keep you on track
4 tricks for better meeting flow
1. Make people engaged
Check if it’s okay to have a phone free meeting. You could write it as a suggestion in the meeting request. It can only help to remove an excess of digital distractions, especially if the meeting is important or includes many participants.
2. Make everyone in the room feel heard
You are the meeting organizer, so ultimately you need to make sure that the meeting becomes successful. Why not use the old school way of raising your hand to speak to get contributions from all meeting participants? Invite everyone to speak, because they were invited for a reason.
3. Make people talk about the right things
If you feel it’s hard to keep some participants from going off track and time is being spent on the wrong things you can say “park that thought”. Draw a circle on the whiteboard and note the new topic there and tell all the participants that it’s a great discussion that you will resume in a new meeting or at a later time.
4. Plan for pauses
We have all been there; in a stuffy meeting room. You feel tired. The mind wanders and you suddenly start thinking about the weekend. You look at the watch and wonder “when’s the next break”? Remember that it can be uncomfortable for people to have to ask for a break. Spontaneous pauses can also disrupt some peoples’ “flow”. Make people go out of the room and get the blood flowing. If it’s a phone free meeting, people will want to check their phones in privacy.
Prep the meeting room
You don’t want any distractions during an important meeting. If you have time, check that the room is ready for every possible obstacle that might disrupt your meeting. For example:
- “Can you see what I’m writing here?”
A classic distraction during the intense part of meetings where something big is about to be explained on the whiteboard. Check beforehand if the whiteboard markers are working – and get rid of the bad ones!
- “My technology, why hast thou forsaken me?”
Is the screen you are going to use plugged in and working? Have a backup plan for showing your presention if the technology leaves you hanging.
- “It’s getting hot in here”
Is it a huddle room or smaller meeting room? Shut the blinds and make sure the temperature is good. It often gets warm fast in smaller rooms.
Liso Room manager has an icon system showing the equipment of each meeting room. You can easily report if something is broken or missing.