So what makes one meeting such a success and yet another soon after a real disappointment. are you able to think of meetings you love going to and those you dread. how can make all the meetings we go to either to contribute, to take minutes or to chair make all worthwhile. From my experience the first key is in setting the scene and responding to the natural rhythm that will make your meetings more effective and the people who attend more committed.
Take the creative cycle for example
We mostly do follow such a process quite naturally however if you stray away from it you can disrupt the full effect of the meeting often without knowing why. So when you are planning your next meeting bring this model/process into consideration.
Starting at the top of the cycle is:
Nurture: Welcoming participants and engaging in small talk, offering refreshments comes in the nurturing stage. Simply helping the participants to feel welcome confirms your respect for their contributions to follow.
The group then moves on to the next stage:
Energising: Not yet ready to make decisions or discuss important projects most meetings cover this by consulting past minutes and/or agreeing how they will approach the agenda. It is a good moment to ask if anyone is planning to bring any other business (AOB) to the table. If there are matters others want to talk about they can be listed any other business (AOB) to be discussed at the end of the meeting so everyone knows in advance.
Once you are happy the group is ready to move on you will reach the:
Peak activity: The group is now ready to tackle to the major topics identified as the peak activity stage. Items where you want discussion and/or decisions should be listed here. Depending on the length of the meeting each item should be allocated a set amount of time.
Around ten minutes before the end of the meeting the participants start to move to the final stage.
Relaxation: They will be thinking about what they will be doing after the meeting and will possibly agree to anything being discussed in order to finish on time.
If as the chair you are sensitive to the process you will find it far easier to communicate your messages more effectively, get important issues debated and decisions made. Clearly the most important aspect is to be conscious of the time. If you have agreed an hour’s meeting realise that the peak activity stage will be starting 10 minutes in and finishing 10 minutes before the meeting end time. Do not try to put too much into your 40 minute slot than can be dealt with.
Have you followed this cycle in your meetings?
About the author
Charlotte writes extensively on communication skills to help improve the way we manage relationships in meetings. Her latest self study ebook is created for Minute Takers and has some important pointers for you as a chair to make life easier and save valuable time.
This practical, self study workbook introduces the role and responsibilities of the Minute Writer. It takes you through the process of preparing for a meeting, listening actively, checking understanding, identifying the relevant information, summarising the key points and producing the final minutes.
The self study workbook is for those who want to develop their skills to produce accurate, clear, and professional minutes of meetings. It is particularly useful for people who produce minutes for technical meetings and need to distinguish the relevant information from the technical discussion