When you facilitate a meeting, these essential guidelines will help ensure a successful meeting for both team leader and participants:
Arrive early to make sure any necessary equipment is set up and ready to operate at the start of the meeting. If you are not fully prepared when the meeting begins, you will waste time and appear unprofessional.
Start and Finish on Time
Always start and finish meetings on time regardless of late participants. Try to avoid restarting the meeting or recapping information for those who were late. This is tough to do with senior folks, but they will respect you for it. Always adjourn at least 5-10 minutes before your scheduled finish time, so participants can arrive on time for their next meeting. If you already have a culture where being on time is expected, this will be easy, if you have the other kind of culture…be tough.
Stick to the Agenda
Stick to your agenda and keep conversation focused on the topic – don’t wait until the end of the meeting to try to catch up. Feel free to ask for only constructive and non-repetitive comments. Tactfully end discussions when they are getting nowhere.
Open with your Objective, and Close with your Accomplishments
Briefly reiterate purposes and established ground rules at the beginning of your meeting. End with a summary of accomplishments, clarification of agreements, and next steps.
Actively Manage your Meeting
Actively manage the meeting with three responsibilities in mind: stay on track, stimulate participation, and accomplish your objectives. Don’t allow participants to take your meeting off agenda. The best way to do this successfully is to manage your agenda in chunks. Don’t wait until the end of the meeting to try and get back on schedule. Park any off-topic items for discussion at the end of the meeting or at a later date.