Meetings are a part and parcel of all corporate companies. While immaculately managed meetings get you the best results, improperly managed ones only lead to chaos and dissatisfactory outcome. For meetings to be fruitful, people need to view them more as team building exercises rather than sources of conflict. The better people interact at a meeting, the greater is the bonding and this is what leads to a result-oriented discussion.
The first step in managing meetings is planning. When you plan a meeting, make sure that you have covered all the ground work. Make a list of things that will be needed, ranging from stationery to electronic equipment. Arrange drinking water. Have a secretary to note the proceedings. Keep the meeting venue neat so that participants are not distracted by clutter. Have data of the precise number of participants and a little about each of them so that you know how to communicate. Make sure that all of them receive the agenda along with details of time and place to allow them to come prepared. All of these help to create a healthy and positive ambiance in the meeting space which goes a long way to increase productivity and efficient utilization of time.
Think of meetings as team building exercises and do all it takes to spread a spirit of positivity. Begin the meeting by introducing all participants, provide a brief outline of what the meeting is all about and clarify the objectives of the meeting. Avoid making opinionated statements because it ruins the intention of holding a meeting that is aimed at coming to a common consensus.
During the meeting, ensure that every participant has a chance to make his opinions heard. Meeting time has to be divided among all participants and so, gently discourage any participant from taking up a lot of time. Diffuse tensions between participants through well placed humor. Divide the meeting time into introduction, discussion and conclusion. Always allot around 10 minutes towards the end to discuss the decisions taken in the meeting. Wrap up the meeting by thanking everyone for their presence.
Conducted in the right way, meetings can move from the realm of organizational protocol to become true team building exercises that motivate people to perform better.