Friday, June 7, 2013

6 Steps to Running A Successful Staff Meeting

I've been thinking of some career topics to hit lately. There are SO many facets of our daily jobs and they vary by industry. But, there are a lot of career tips that are applicable to any business field. So, I'll share some tips I've learned since I entered the real world!

Today we are talking about running your first staff meeting. Maybe you are managing a new project or running an event where the entire staff is involved. Whatever the case, there may be times when you are calling a meeting that can involve some of your superiors. So, let's make a good impression.

Here's my 6 steps for running a productive meeting:

1. Invite the appropriate staff members

The best thing to do is send out a meeting request or some form of formal invitation to the meeting. That way you can include everyone who is requested, and keep track of who can and cannot attend. Also, this gives you a chance to send out a brief summary of what the meeting is about, who is coming, and what is to be expected. Make sure to specify a date, time, and location of the meeting. If you need staff to brainstorm ahead of time, or prepare reports, be sure to let them know several days in advance.

2. Create and Distribute an Agenda

No one likes a meeting that isn't organize from the beginning. Getting something accomplished is much easier if you give some thought to the format of the meeting in advance. Jot down the main points that need to be discussed and then put together an agenda with times, if appropriate. If the meeting is extensive, plan break times and include those.
Send the agenda to all invited parties a few days in advance so that everyone has time to review it. Some may even ask to add items or adjust times. If necessary, update the agenda and always send out the most recent version. 
Print copies of the agenda and bring them to the meeting in case others forget. Review the agenda before you begin so everyone can follow along and has a good understanding for what is going to be covered.

3. Have Clear Talking Points

These will be reflected in the agenda, but make sure you come to the meeting with specific things to discuss. If it's a pre-event meeting with staff make sure to cover the details of the event, responsibilities, possible issues, etc. If it is a project management meeting cover topics like goals, responsibilities, deadlines, expectations, etc. Always bring questions or concerns to the table as well. This is the time to collaborate with your fellow staff members to make your event or project as successful as possible.

4. Keep Communication Open

Ask for feedback along the way. Some meetings are more informational, and some are more collaborative. Either way, encourage others to give feedback and opinions on the topics that are being discussed. This helps bring new ideas and solutions to the table and gives other staff members a sense of being involved and valued. 

5. Assign Action Items

In my experience the most common reason a meeting doesn't result in productivity is when action items are not reviewed before the meeting concludes. You can spend two hours discusses possible solutions to problems, unique ideas, and new directions, but if no one acts on them after the meeting, then it was all for nothing. 
As the meeting progresses jot down notes when people say things like "I will contact", "I can look into that", "We  should research that", "Let's start promoting that next month", etc. Anything that takes action, mark it down. 
Before the meeting wraps up, go through the list of things that needs to be done and assign each to a person. Also, give them a deadline of when it needs to be completed.

6. Follow-Up

Keep track of all the action items and their deadlines. If appropriate, send and email with a list of the tasks and respective deadlines as a follow-up to all that attended the meeting. Loop in people who were unable to attend, but are involved in the project. As deadlines approach, make sure to touch base with the person responsible to ensure deadlines will be met and tasks completed satisfactorily. Ensure all those involved that they can come to you with questions or concerns when following through on the action items. Don't wait until deadlines have passed to follow-up.

I hope some of these tips were helpful. Did I miss something? What else do you find to be useful when trying to have an effective meeting? Let me know!

Happy Friday and have a great weekend everyone!!

xoxo Rebecca

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