With today’s sophisticated work methods – teleconferencing for example – it is of paramount importance to ensure that the meeting is productive and doesn’t lapse into a useless waste of time.
Care should be taken to steer the proceedings in a useful and interesting way to ensure full participation of all the attendees. After all, what is the point of holding a meeting where all anybody remembers is how bored they were!?
Consider first what the aim of the meeting is. Perhaps you want to develop an idea, or solve a problem, or find a way to increase productivity. For more than one aim an agenda is probably a good idea.
If you are not a good host, find or employ a professional who can direct the meeting and keep the ‘flow’ going. He may ask participants in turn to contribute to the subject making it more interesting and more productive.
Tip colleagues or workers may contribute more to a stranger asking questions since they do not want to be seen as evasive. Office politics do not come into play with a stranger.
Communicate to the participants well beforehand what the objective of the meeting is – send them the agenda – and outline what you expect them to contribute.
During and after the meeting state the decisions and conclusions that have been reached so that everyone is very clear on the progress being made.
Finally, send out a copy of the discussion to ensure that there was indeed a ‘meeting of minds’.