Ugh. Ever been in a meeting that could've been an email? Or a meeting where no clear action items were assigned to attendees? Let's face it, there are serious opportunities with meetings, especially meeting etiquette.
According to Inc., one meeting etiquette faux pas is shutting down someone's suggestion. Not only does this deflate motivation to participate by the person who voiced the suggestion, it discourages others from speaking up as well. If you're the meeting facilitator, what are some ways you can help them not suck the life out of invited employees?
These tips will help you navigate meeting facilitation like a true expert
- Develop an agenda. Agendas are great. They help people know what to expect as far as talking points, and agendas can help you remember what you wanted to meet about in the first place. So often meetings go down rabbit holes and off into new galaxies, so agendas are designed to help keep meetings on track. Agendas don't have to be long. A simple bullet point list of topics will suffice. You may also consider assigning different bullet points to the owner of the given area, helping meeting attendees feel included and involved and taking some of the pressure off of you to speak the entire time.
- Build a parking lot. No, not a parking lot for cars, rather a parking lot for ideas that were not listed on your agenda but should possibly be revisited in another meeting, or offline. In the Inc. article about meeting no-nos, it mentions avoiding brushing off attendees' suggestions. Dismissing ideas can turn people off, and face it, you may need those people to complete whatever project or initiative you're meeting about in the first place. Rather, to keep your meeting on track and keep everyone engaged at the topics on the agenda, simply "park" off-road ideas in your parking lot for later. This keeps everyone content and your meeting moving forward.
- Assign a note taker. We've all thought we'd remember something then we don't. As meeting facilitator, you're busy focusing on getting through the agenda and assigning action items. However, it's critical to keep track of parking lot ideas and other important points brought up by meeting attendees. Appointing a note taker can help you keep track of key information and make someone feel helpful and valued. After the meeting, you'll appreciate the notes!
While some people would rather stab themselves in the eye than attend yet another meeting, you have an opportunity to turn it all around to an enjoyable experience. Show everyone you know what's up with meeting etiquette and how to efficiently and effectively get the job done.
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