5 Principles of Highly Effective Meetings
Are you running your meetings with these principles in mind?
What are meetings good for? Countless professionals ask themselves this very question everyday. The frustration around meetings is a consequence of failing to abide by some very basic principles. What follows are the principles, purposes, and practices of excellent meetings:
Principle #1: Use the meeting for those things that would benefit from bringing people together or can't be resolved without convening.
- When determining whether to call a meeting, ask yourself: Can the purpose of the meeting more efficiently and effectively be achieved without convening? If the answer is yes, hold off on meeting.
Principle #2: Use the meeting to provide participants with a chance to express their opinions and be heard.
- Start the conversation with a “clearing” (i.e., Have everyone go around and say what’s on their mind without soliciting comments.)
- Reiterate what participants say and check for understanding.
Principle #3: Use the meeting to build rapport and trust among the group members.
- Have participants make introductions and describe what they hope to achieve by being there.
- Maintain eye contact and refer to participants by their names, as opposed to “he said” or “she said…”
- Create meeting norms (e.g., voting procedures as well as agreement to not comment on people’s “clearings.”)
- Give people space to talk (see 2nd principle) and build on what participants say.
- Express gratitude and thank the participants for their contributions.
Principle #4: Use the meeting to learn more efficiently and effectively than each participant could on his/her own.
- Encourage advocacy and inquiry (i.e., Encourage participants to advocate their views and to invite other participants to inquire as to their line of reasoning and supporting evidence.)
Principle #5: Use the meeting to develop actionable strategies.
- Employ the OARRs method (i.e., Decide on the Outcome, Agenda, Roles, and Rules prior to or at the start of the meeting.)
- Provide crystal-clear directions (e.g., Avoid double-barreled questions.)
- Eliminate barriers to success (e.g., Rather than “reinventing the wheel,” build upon templates that already exist.)
- Write up action items and include "Who, what, by when" (i.e., Who is responsible? What is he/she responsible for? And by what date should it be completed?)
What do you think are the essential elements of an effective meeting?
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