Meetings are considered one of the top time wasting activities in business. If your meetings are badly organised people in your organisation will resent the added pressure on their overworked schedules. If you do it well your services will be sought out.
Every meeting should have a clear objective which is relevant to your organisations goals. Prepare an agenda and stick to it. Omit any other business.
Only invite people who will progress the objectives of the meeting. Tell delegates what to prepare and how long the meeting will take.
Prepare yourself and arrive early. Introduce yourself to everyone as they arrive and make sure that delegates are introduced to each other.
Don’t yawn, stare out of the window or click your pen. As the organiser you must set the example.
When putting across your point always be courteous. Avoid sarcasm or insults. Be rational and calm and avoid personal criticism.
A skilled facilitator keeps strictly to time limits and avoids moving off topic. If an important off topic point is raised this can be scheduled into future meetings.
Minutes should be taken and circulated to all attendees within 48 hours of the meeting. Nowadays it is common to forward action points rather than formal detailed minutes. Whichever format is chosen the document should be approved by the Chairman of the meeting before it is circulated.
Keep quiet about what was discussed at the meeting unless you are told otherwise, or you may find yourself excluded from important meetings in the future. Lack of discretion is extremely damaging to a career.
'So what?' is the most important question to ask at the end of a meeting. Having an answer will ensure that you have not wasted your time. What is the outcome, what will happen and who needs to do what? These are the vital questions that must be asked of all attendees before you close the meeting.