T-A-O – Tips to run a meeting effectively

Have you been to a meeting wherein afterwards you felt exhausted and lost? And worst of all, you just realized it’s late and you seemed to be out of breathe catching for your deliverables of the day. You have been to a poorly-managed meeting!

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 Everyone knows how to run a meeting effectively because we have been doing it since our school days. Unfortunately not everyone is doing it right.

If you are the presider of the meeting, you drive and lead the proceedings. Here are some no-brainer reminders you need to take note 

1.       Time.
Everyone claims to be busy and has limited time to devote in meetings. That is why it is important to run meetings effectively and efficiently. Every meeting should have a definite starting and ending time.  If you scheduled to start at 7 AM, start at 7AM, not 7:30AM. As a presider, you have to be at the venue first. If it’s time to start and there are at least 1/3 of the expected attendees at the venue, start right away. Do not wait for others before you start. If you start the meeting at the scheduled time, late arrivals will definitely try to arrive earlier next time. Arriving late, without prior notice, is considered an insult to those who came early. However, if you make it a habit of waiting for the late comers, they will have an impression that it is okay to be late. You are simply tolerating their bad habit.
Allocate time to discuss each topic. Advice each presenter to stick with the time limit.
2.       Agenda
To have a written agenda is a must. It has to be distributed to the participants, days before the meeting. This allows everyone to prepare. The agenda should include the topics to be discussed, the name of the presenter and the allocated time.
Don’t let the meeting drag by discussing matters not listed in the agenda. People lose interest quickly if things move slowly. Interest is a fuel to a productive discussion. As a presider, if you notice that the discussion tends to wander off from the subject, remind everyone to stay on track.
The purpose of assigning in advance the presenter is to distribute tasks. No one person, including the presider, should dominate the discussion. Make sure everyone contributes ideas. Even the most silent people have something to share.
3.       Output
After the meeting, now what? Make sure that the meeting’s purpose is accomplished. If there are problems discussed in the meeting, make sure that decisions are made. If a follow through or separate meeting is required, every relevant person has to be informed about it. If there are actions to be taken, there has to be a way to check and monitor its progress.
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Remember T-A-O! TAO means human or person. Let the above tips remind everyone that the most valuable component of a team is not the machine or anything whatsoever, but the people. If a person came off short from expectations, avoid barking at him in front of other people. Even if your intention is to motivate the person and to toughen the person up, just don’t do it in public. What works for one person may not necessarily work for another. By embarrassing a person as a form of motivation may have worked in the ancient times but things have changed.
“People are the greatest asset an organization has and it is the only asset that appreciates daily.”

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