One of the best things a company or organization has going for it is the opportunity to tap the intelligence of the other members of its team. Like the saying goes “none of us is smarter than all of us”. However, to make the best use of these individuals, it is important to have a well structured meeting format that makes the most of everyone’s time and energy.
Preparation is Critical
The first item should be an agenda that is emailed to everyone who will be attending at least 48 hours in advance. By providing an agenda you are communicating to the participants that the meeting is important. One of the best ways to insure that you get input from the participants is to involve them in the presentation of the meeting. Assign appropriate segments to people who can contribute in a meaningful way.
Structure of the Meeting
Open the meeting by thanking everyone for coming. If appropriate, explain that the point of the meeting is to share some information as well as gather their input. An excellent way to get the meeting off to a good start is to ask for “good news”. In other words, ask the participants to share personal or professional successes they have experienced in the last 30 days.
Next, make the necessary announcements and if necessary handle all questions and comments related to each announcement.
Discuss issues that require input from the meeting participants. Make it a point to ask for and listen to all comments and suggestions. It is important to fully listen to all suggestions and to respond appropriately to each one.
A critical area that must be handled properly is following up on all issues that require action. Nothing kills the enthusiasm of a group like inaction. When this mistake is made, it leads most people to believe that their efforts in contributing to the meeting were in vain.
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Tom Borg is president of Tom Borg Consulting, LLC. He is a business consultant, speaker, coach and author. He helps companies and organization become more profitable by increasing their value and lowering their costs through the professional development of their managers and employees.