Have you ever wondered if effective meetings ever happen?
If you've ever been a meeting participant or even involved in meeting facilitation no doubt you've experienced both very poor and very good examples of how a meeting should be run.
I think you would agree, there's nothing worse than a meeting that:
Effective meetings are an incredibly important part of communication in business and a tool that should be used. Done well they can have your business running like a well oiled machine. Done poorly, running a meeting just because it's seems like the right thing to do and doing so without structure and process can result in ineffective decision making, poor team relationships and ultimately impact business growth.
If you are presently involved in or thinking about starting a network marketing or direct sales business it won't be long before you are either invited to attend a business meeting or you are personally responsible for meeting facilitation.
No matter what business you are in you will find effective business meetings will be necessary. So developing meeting management skills is something you want to give your serious consideration because done effectively, meetings will inspire and supercharge your team!
Simply...... you don't want to leave this important business management process to chance…..you need to have a plan to follow in order to maximize the potential of running effective meetings.
Taking a strategic approach to meeting management will:
Now, with all that said……you no doubt want to know more about my 10 keys for running effective meetings so you can get started right away and implement this strategy into your business operation!
OK…..I won't keep you in suspense any longer……here it is…….
If you follow this process meticulously you can't go wrong, just make sure you are diligent about implementing this strategy next time it is necessary for you to take responsibility for meeting facilitation.
My 10 Keys for Running Effective Meetings
The 10 Keys in detail…
So let's take a closer look at each of these 10 keys in more detail so you know exactly what it is you need to do to run effective meetings.
Follow a clear, consistent and well documented 'meeting process'
One of the biggest challenges you will face with meeting facilitation is discovering the key to productive time management within the meeting process. There is nothing worse than a team meeting that lacks direction and strong leadership and discussion is pretty much a 'free for all' where some participants get to control the process, while others are merely spectators. This leads to huge frustration and very little productivity.
The simple solution to this very common problem is not even starting a meeting until you have established a clear, consistent and well documented meeting process.
That way, everyone involved in the meeting knows what to expect, understands the meeting protocols, roles and responsibilities of all participants, and meeting objectives. You'll be amazed at what a dramatic impact this one simple step can have on improving time management and meeting outcomes.
Setting this up is a lot easier to do than you may think!
You should establish and document your meeting process as follows:
Once you have established your own process for effective meetings using this guideline you need to stick to it so that it becomes the norm for your business operation and your team has clear expectations of how meetings will be run and their role within that process.
When you are planning a meeting
you should work through this logical process.
Then use the template you develop as a foundational tool
every time you plan and run meetings in the future
so that your meeting format is consistent and expectations clear.
Establish a 'meeting agenda template'
When you do this you will save yourself time in the future because you simply update the template every time you run a meeting. Both you and your team will become very familiar with the process and this will result in more productive outcomes from your meetings.
It also means that you can mentor your new business partners in developing meeting facilitation skills because they will have a clear process to follow by using your meeting agenda template as a tool for running effective meetings.
You can develop your own template using the suggestions I have provided above, or you can simply download the template below and adapt to suit your requirements.
Establish clearly defined 'roles' and 'responsibilities' for all meeting participants
Everyone in the meeting has a 'role' and with that role comes 'responsibilities'.
As a meeting facilitator you have the option to clearly define those 'roles' and the'responsibilities' that come with each role or you can do this as a team project.
At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter what process you use in defining these'roles' and 'responsibilities', just so long as this is done to ensure the 'expectations' of the 'meeting participants' is clear from the outset. This will result in productive meeting time.
Here are some examples of meeting 'roles' and 'responsibilities'.
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Set 'Specific, Measurable, Action orientated, Realistic and Time based' (SMART) meeting objectives
Setting clearly defined objectives for your meetings is imperative. Without this hugely important step your meetings will NOT stay on task and there is huge opportunity for wasting time. If you don't have your meeting objectives clearly defined you will NOT run effective meetings and your outcomes will more than likely be unproductive.
during your team meetings!
Establish 'meeting protocols'
It is imperative that you and your team agree on certain protocols for running a meeting that you will commit to for all meetings.
Here's a few suggestions….they may not apply specifically to your business, but you will get ideas from this list:
No doubt you can think of a few more examples that relate to your specific business, but you get the general idea. You must have meeting protocols well defined so expectations are clear for all who attend.
'Plan meetings' wherever possible well in advance.
Some unplanned meetings may be necessary where something urgent has come up. But under normal circumstances you should plan your regular meetings well in advance so your team can plan ahead of time and be in a position to make a valued contribution to the meeting. This will significantly impact your meeting outcomes and therefore your future business growth.
As part of the planning process for effective meetings you should send a copy of your proposed meeting agenda to all participants and then ask them to include any additional agenda items that are relevant to the purpose and goals of the meeting.
This sets up a democratic process which results in effective meetings because your team feel their contributions are valued and it means you have input from your whole team rather than just a few people.
Once you receive all submissions, return the final meeting agenda to your meeting participants at least one day before the meeting so they all know what to expect when they attend and will therefore come prepared with ideas and contributions.
Establish a format and process for 'effective minute taking'
The meeting minutes play a far greater role in running effective meetings than you might think. In fact it's so important that I have dedicated a whole page to this important key on this website.
To discover more about this vitally important key
Include the opportunity for 'team participation'
Make sure your team has the opportunity to contribute ideas and participate fully in all aspects of your team meetings. When people are included in discussion, their ideas are taken seriously, they are actively involved in the process and they are given responsibility for follow up projects they will feel valued and much more likely to be a positive influence in your meetings and ultimately your business growth outcomes.
And, what's just as important……
They won't fall asleep during your meetings or be a disruptive influence.
Team players who are enthusiastic about moving their own businesses forward are exactly what you want if you are to run effective meetings.
Include 'mini workshops' within the meeting time for brainstorming, problem solving and forward planning
One of the ways you can run effective meetings is by including more active participation.
By this I don't simply mean asking for everyone to contribute their ideas when discussing specific agenda items.
A very productive option for involving all meeting participants in a practical activity that will also positively impact your business growth goals is this…..
Break your larger meeting group up into
small 'task force' type teams so they can
brainstorm and workshop on specific projects
and then report back to the whole group.
I have used this technique many times in my business and found it to be a highly successful strategy for:
Give it a go….you'll be amazed at how effective this strategy can be!
Include 'feedback' and 'progress check' opportunities within the meeting agenda
There is simply no value at all from having an agenda and recording minutes of your meetings if you don't include the opportunity for follow up, feedback and regular progress checks on specific projects that you and your team are working on. This is such an important yet overlooked step in running effective meetings. So often important agenda items get buried in new business and they are never followed up on down the track.
This is a costly mistake and one you should avoid.
If something was important enough to make it to your meeting agenda in the first place it needs to be revisited until there is a final outcome. If you don't do this you could be missing opportunities for business growth and the time you have already spent addressing this in previous meetings ends up being a complete waste of time! No one these days can afford to waste valuable time in their business.
So make sure you factor in old agenda items that have not been finalized into your ongoing meeting agendas so you can check on progress, address any unresolved issues and bring completion to all outstanding tasks and projects.
What if my business partners don't live close by?
If you are building a global network marketing business you more than likely already have or will soon have, team members all over the globe. The right network marketing company will most certainly provide you with this opportunity.
If this is the case for you, then you may be wondering how you can run effective team meetings with your key business associates spread out across the globe.
The answer is simple…..
There are a number of tools available these days for running effective virtual meetings but one I recommend is GoToMeeting. Check it out….. it's a fantastic resource for any business owner.
Running effective meetings is a valuable skill to acquire, no matter what business you are in, but particularly so if you are involved in a people business like network marketing and direct sales.
Never underestimate the power of running effective meetings for team building, effective communication in business, and the potential of this process to positively impact business growth for you and your team.