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How to have an effective meeting

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Hannah Evans

on 6 June 2014

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Transcript of How to have an effective meeting

By Hannah Evans
How To Hold An Effective Meeting
March 2014

A.
Who
should attend the meeting?
B.
When
should the meeting take place?
C.
What
will the meeting achieve?
D.
Where
will the meeting take place?
F.
How
will attendance be monitored?
We all spend a lot of time in meetings! It is important that meetings are managed effectively to ensure we don't waste people's time, attendees remain engaged and that the objectives are achieved.

The
efficiency
of a meeting depends on the success of activities which take place
before
,
during
and
after
it...
PREPARATION
IN ADVANCE
OF THE MEETING
PREPARATION
ON THE DAY
OF THE MEETING
ACTIVITIES

AT THE START

OF THE
MEETING
ACTIVITIES
DURING
THE MEETING
ACTIVITIES
AT THE END

OF THE MEETING
PREPARATION IN ADVANCE
Ensure you have the right people in the room - collate a list of
key stakeholders
and
optional
attendees.
If necessary, speak to team leaders to determine who the key stakeholders are.
Establish who will
chair
the meeting and who will take the
minutes.
Ensure you schedule the meeting when the majority, if not all, key stakeholders can attend.
View attendee availability in outlook calendars or use an online tool like
Doodle.com
to determine a date and time when everyone is free.
Avoid long meetings where possible and allow for
breaks
to keep people engaged.
Do you really need to schedule a meeting in person or would a telephone conversation suffice?
Set a clear meeting
agenda
with focused and clear
objectives
, listed in order of importance.
Set a
time limit
for each agenda point and stick to it.
This ensures the meeting stays on schedule and also puts the attendee's minds at ease!
Do not try and cover too many agenda topics in one meeting -
keep it simple!
Use visual aids where possible.

Ensure you distribute a copy of all pre-read materials well in advance of the meeting to minimise time required in the meeting itself.
Often the agenda and objectives may be enough, but consider what additional information would be useful for participants to see ahead of the meeting e.g. minutes from the last meeting, data, a copy of the presentation etc. This will maximise efficiency in the meeting itself and allow people to come better prepared.

Arrange a meeting room
large enough for all meeting attendees to take part with suitable equipment. (i.e a projector, computer, internet access, flipchart).
Ensure the
location
is clearly stated on the meeting invitation.
Plan whether refreshments will be required during the meeting or not/ if any breaks will be needed.
Ensure
teleconference
or
web conferencing
details are provided within the meeting invite should anyone be joining virtually.
E. Create the meeting invitation
List the
key
and
optional
stakeholders.
List the meeting
objectives and agenda.
When meeting
location
is confirmed, update the meeting invitation.
Meeting Objectives:
you agree to the new principles of work.
we agree to the plan of action.
you highlight any concerns about the new principles.
Attendees:
Huw Jones
Alice Worsdall
Anna MacAdam
Kirsty Robinson

Optional Attendees
:
Hannah Evans
For example:
Review of New Principles of Work

If key stakeholders decline the invitation, ensure they delegate responsibility to someone to attend in their absence.
Use the ‘Tracking’ tool on Outlook to track who has accepted the meeting invitation and who has declined at any given time.
Chase anyone who has not replied within a reasonable time.
On a project or programme level,
‘Meeting Principles’

may be defined to set meeting behaviours, to avoid uncontrolled forwarding of meeting invites, no drinking or eating during meetings etc.


In order to be
measurable/observable
at the end of the meeting, an objective should be framed as either:

1. what you want the other people to
do/say/think
at the end of the meeting.

"My objective is that YOU will understand the statement of work."


2.
what you want the two or more of you to have produced together by the end of the meeting.

"My objective is that WE will have drawn up a plan of action."
Setting meeting objectives
PREPARATION
ON THE DAY
OF THE MEETING
Arrive to your meeting
a few minutes early
ahead of the scheduled start time to allow for:
arranging a productive meeting room layout if necessary.
setting up equipment.
preparing your presentation (as applicable).
opening the web/teleconferencing channels (as applicable).
resolving any unforeseen issues (e.g. equipment not working, a double booking etc.)
NB - Avoid saying 'my objective is TO'

Consider the following example:

"My objective is to define the actions that can be completed today,"

In this example, you are the
subject
of the action - you are defining the actions to your passive listener(s).

Instead try:

"my objective is that YOU define the actions that can be completed today."
OR

"my objective is that WE define the actions that can be completed today."


Here, the other person/people become the
subject
or at least the
co-subject of the action
.

People generally much prefer doing things than having things done to them.





ACTIVITIES
AT THE START
C.
Announce
the meeting using the following guideline:


For example...
B. Once introductions are done,
don’t beat about the bush
-announce the purpose of the meeting straight away!
"Jack, I'm a little anxious to have this meeting with you but I'm glad I have arranged it...
STATE OF MIND
WHAT I DID TO PREPARE THE MEETING
"...I've been thinking about how we work together and the fact that in some areas I'm uncomfortable with that. I've thought about how that's affecting me and I've brought along some suggestions which I want to submit to you..."
"...and I really hope that we can agree on a new way of working together which I'm happier with but which also works for you..."
ANNOUNCE THE MEETING OBJECTIVE
INVITATION TO REACT
"...How do you feel about that?..."
A.
Record minutes
and individual
actions.


B. Always address the most
important
agenda items first!





F. Ensure
effective communication
between participants throughout.
E. Quality control


PHILIPPE DE LAPOYADE - The
Interactifs
Discipline
Founder of the
Interactifs
company and have been teaching the discipline for 25 years.
Lapoyade sat in on meetings and observed verbal patterns and noticed 3 communication problems which very often occur during meetings which significantly affect levels of
understanding
and
productivity.
1. Things which are thought or felt by the participants but remain
UNSAID.




For example:
For example
For example
2. Things which are
SAID
by the participants but negligently or artlessly.
3. Ineffective
LISTENING.
Client:
"Well thanks very much for coming to see us." (Your service sucks and you've just wasted an hour of our lives.)

Consultant:
"It was a pleasure. Thanks for sparing us the time." (You weren't listening and anyway, I know we did a lousy job explaining the benefits of our services.)

Client:
"We'll be in touch if we need you. I have your card." (When hell freezes over. In the meantime your card's going straight in the bin.)

Consultant:
"We look forward to that." (We blew this opportunity big time and we're never going to hear from you again.)
If you want to have an effective meeting which not only produces...
CONCRETE RESULTS
TRUST
CONFIDENCE
but also
and
...then you should not only be setting an example by
explaining what's going on in your mind
but also
actively encouraging
the other people to be
open and honest
too.
Before responding to something that has been said -
you need to ensure you have heard what the other person is saying in its entirety...

...as we all have a tendency to respond only to the parts which have
a

strong emotional impact.
Lapoyade suggests that by using one of the three paths below, a meeting should advance in
clarity, understanding
and
productivity
.
ACTIVITIES
DURING
THE MEETING
a) what do you think of my idea/argument/objective/response?
b) what do you think of the meeting/conversation/work produced together?
If you want to know what the other person thinks of what you are saying you will need to ask them straight after you have said it.

Express ideas and arguments
one at a time
then give the other person an
opportunity to respond
.
ACTIVITIES AT THE
END
OF THE MEETING
A.
Ask for feedback
on the success of the meeting

B. End the meeting
on time

There is nothing worse than a poorly time managed meeting which means you are either going to be late for the next meeting or you have to leave prior to the meeting end and miss important discussion.
Ensure you have a record of
WHAT
the action is,
WHO
owns the action and
WHEN
the action should be completed.
After the meeting, distribute minutes and actions via email as soon as possible.
If meeting notes are long, ensure that the actions are summarised at the beginning of the email body so that they are clearly visible.
Minutes should be archived in a central place electronically so attendees can review them later.


D. Follow-up
Follow up any queries that were unanswerable
during the meeting via email/telephone/face to face.

If you say you will look into something after the meeting has taken place - MAKE SURE YOU DO.
Beware - do not asked closed questions with yes or no answers. THIS IS NOT FEEDBACK.
A.
Set-up ahead
of the meeting
This keeps an
audit trail
and a log of all the activity that should take place after the meeting has taken place. Ideally, nominate an individual who is not required to contribute to the meeting discussion.
If you are the minute-taker in the meeting, ensure points that are noted are
clearly understood
- play back or recap key points that are discussed to clarify understanding and ensure it is captured accurately in the notes.
As
actions
are identified, ensure that owners and due dates for those are also determined.

Measurements should be taken during the meeting to ensure the defined and agreed outcome is being produced and to ensure,at the end of the meeting, the outcome has been produced.
Effective Communication
Phillipe de Lapoyade says...
"What did you think of the meeting?"
"Why do you think that?"
"How can we resolve this?"
C.
Recap actions
and ensure owners and due dates are clear.
Summary - Meeting Checklist
1. Preparation in advance

Challenge whether a meeting is necessary.
Create a list of meeting attendees.
Schedule a date for the meeting.
Set meeting objectives and create an agenda.
Organise a suitable meeting space.
Create the meeting invitation.
Distribute pre-read materials
Monitor meeting attendance.
2. Preparation on the day


Arrive to the meeting punctually.
Ensure a productive room layout.
Ensure all equipment is functional.
3. At the start of the meeting

Ask everyone to introduce themselves.
Announce the purpose of the meeting and state of mind straight away.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
4
. During the meeting

Record minutes and actions clearly.
Address the most important objectives first.
Stick to the original agenda.
Communicate effectively using Phillippe de Lapoyade's Interactifs discipline.
Assess the quality of the discussion throughout.
5. At the end of the meeting

Recap actions and ensure owners and due dates are clear.
Ask for feedback on the general success of the meeting.
End the meeting on time.
Distribute the meeting minutes and actions promptly and upload electronically in a centralised location.
Follow-up any queries.
Every minute that passes at the beginning of the meeting before you announce your real intentions will generate either suspicion or caution.

I
f the other person/people think they know what you want from them but have not heard you say it, they will be suspicious of you.
a)
announce your state of mind
(not obligatory, but can help you gain comfort when announcing an ambitious objective)
b)
what you have done to
prepare the meeting
c)
announce the
meeting objectives.
d) invite the participants to react to your
objectives.
Bibliography
Palmer, A, "
Talk Lean: Shorter Meetings, Quicker Results
,
Better Relations
", Capstone 2014
Title
HIM/HER
ME
US (Him/Her + Me)
Principles
I dig, decipher, I get more information, I find out what's really happening in his/her head.
I tell the other person/people what's really happening in MY head, what I think, what I want, what I need.
I identify a solution with the other person, I launch an action, identify a next step.
Applications
"What do you mean by...?

"What leads you to...?"

"Tell me more about..."
"Hearing you say...I tell myself...What do you think?"

"I want... (I'd like...) What do you think?"

"I need... What do you think?"
"What do I need to do, so that you...?"

"If I...., what will you do...?

"What do we do?"
Client: "I've been looking at your documentation.
It's very interesting
, but at
first glance
, I think this is
a little bit
over-engineered for our needs. And
officially
all our budgets are frozen
until the end of the year.
"
Someone who listens ineffectively to the other person or themselves may respond with:

Consultant: "That sucks Jim! I think you are really missing an opportunity."

The consultant hasn't take into consideration the subtleties highlighted in orange which could offer room to further the conversation and relationship with the client.
1. Consultant: " Jim, despite everything else you went on to say, when I heard
"it's very interesting",
it gave me the impression that I shouldn't yet abandon all hope. How do you react to that?"
4. Consultant: "Jim, based on your saying "
At first glance, I think this is a little bit over-engineered
", I feel the need to spend 15 minutes going through the documentation with you in detail. How would you feel about that?"
2. Consultant: "Jim, hearing you say that you think this is "
a little bit
over-engineered", I'm telling myself that it shouldn't be difficult for us to close the gap."
5. Consultant: "Jim, help me out here. How would I need to
re-engineer
the product so that it DOES fit your needs?"
3. Consultant: "Jim, hearing you say that your
budgets are frozen
until the end of the year, I tell myself that I can perhaps look forward to making a deal on January 2nd..."
6. Consultant: "Jim, I'm telling myself that if you wanted a face-to-face meeting with me today, despite what you've said about over-engineering and frozen budgets, then it's probably not yet time for me to throw in the towel. Well?"
POSSIBLE RESPONSES AFTER
EFFECTIVE
LISTENING
NB. Arguments are diminished in company
Arguments presented on their own are lean and hungry like the wolf. In company, they're more likely to resemble sheep...
"This is unacceptable - you are all a bunch of incompetents!!"
...THE END!
Create a memorable but relevant,
meeting title.
For example:
For a weekly directorate meeting:

"Party on the Fun Bus" may be a memorable title but would not be a relevant or appropriate.

Better - "Programme Directorate Board Meeting"
DO NOT HAVE A MEETING FOR THE SAKE OF IT!
Meeting objective:
what you want to achieve from the meeting in terms of decisions, knowledge transfer or actions.
Setting the agenda
Meeting agenda
: the order/structure of the meeting in which the objectives will be covered.

It is important that you get agreement and buy-in from the relevant stakeholders
in advance
of the meeting.


Ensure you
stick to the agenda
points originally agreed.
Monitor time
to ensure the meeting keeps to schedule.
Where discussion strays from the objectives, ask for the specific discussion to be continued offline and
note this as an action.
Listen to
understand
. Do not listen to reply.
A.
Introductions

Ask everyone to introduce themselves (who they are and what their role or involvement/interest in the topic is) to make sure everyone knows who they are talking to. Don't forget yourself or the people on the phone!
Identify the minute taker if there is one.
C. Keep participants
engaged
Use
natural stopping points
for breaks.
Monitor the mood of the room and
use additional breaks
or
topic changes
if attendees are flagging or becoming distracted.
If particular attendees are not contributing, ask them directly for their views on the given topic to make sure everyone is heard.
D. Use visual aids where appropriate
Use slides minimally -
avoid death by powerpoint!
Use slides to provide
structure
and
promote discussion.
Where brainstorming or reviewing options, make use of
whiteboards
or
flipcharts
- many people are visual and find things easier to follow if drawn. It also ensure everyone has the same understanding.
Tip! Take a picture of the whiteboard with your phone to make sure you have a record!
Full transcript