It can be nerve wracking to speak in public, and taking lead in a meeting is no different. All eyes are on you and you have the added responsibility of acting as moderator and ensuring the meeting achieves its objectives and doesn’t descend into chaos.
Here’s how to confidently take lead in a meeting:
Rule number one: know what you are talking about. Make sure you have read up on the subject of the meeting and are as up to date as much as possible. You are going to feel much more confident about leading the meeting if you know what you are talking about, and your colleagues are more likely to listen to you too.
Have an agenda
Meetings are well known as being time wasters mostly because they often lack clear objectives. Prior to the meeting make sure all participants are aware of the agenda and the reasons behind holding the meeting and the objectives to meet – this will help you to keep on track.
Keep it short
In order to stop the meeting from eating too much into the working day and to keep people from being bored, keep it short. Doing so will force you to stick to the agenda as much as possible and will ensure that attention doesn’t wander.
Stay on track
Some going off on tangent is to be expected, and sometimes can be welcome and useful. If however it looks like the meeting will run way over, or the subject looks to be complicated, it’s ok to steer people back on track by asking for a report on the subject or suggesting setting up a separate meeting to discuss it – after all, this meeting has objectives to meet!
Don’t have too many meetings. Limit them, and you will limit the number of moans and groans from staff and increase their level of attention during the meetings you do have.
Timing is everything
Never hold meetings straight after lunch and avoid Friday afternoons. After lunch is always a bad idea as people are likely to be sleepier, and on Friday afternoons they are more likely to be distracted and thinking about the weekend – and even if this is not the case, they will be going home for two days and by Monday any decisions made will no longer be fresh in anyone’s mind.
Some props are always useful, be it diagrams, charts, maps, a flip chart for notes or a simple presentation. These help to jog your memory regarding what you want to say and help to fix things in the minds of people with a more visual memory. Avoid overdoing the powerpoint though!
Having someone take minutes means that a report on the meeting can easily and quickly be drawn up making the whole process more useful to everyone involved, ensuring all decisions made are clear and making it easier for you to prep for the next meeting.
Meetings can be useful, and you can lead them too, if you follow these tips.