The start of the meeting generally sets the tone of the meeting. If people trickle in slowly, engage in extended small talk, and don’t have a plan, you’ve just set the tone for a bad meeting. Today, we’ll talk about how to set the tone for an effective meeting.
- Assign a start time and honor it. If you don’t start on time, you’re communicating that the meeting isn’t important.
- Ask your team to refrain from emailing, texting, or taking calls during the meeting. If you have everyone’s full attention, you can make significant progress quickly. Emailing, texting, etc. is very rude to those who aren’t.
- Set an agenda. You might want to establish the agenda with a group ahead of time, set it yourself, or open the floor for agenda items. However you arrive at an agenda, make sure you have one.
- Make the agenda visible. Write it a white board. Project it on the wall. Email it to your team members. Whatever you do, put it in writing and follow it.
- Decide what topics you’re communicating and which needs decisions. Part of the meeting will be devoted to communicating and part to deciding. I like to cover communication first, then devote specific time to making decisions.