How to Lead Awesomely Organized Meetings

Meetings

It’s Monday morning and I have three meetings to attend today!

I’m ready! I have organized all my paperwork needed for each meeting and have made notes. The individuals who called the meetings have provided agendas, so I have an idea of what is expected of me and all the other participants at the appointed times.

There is nothing like attending a meeting with no focus or plan. Click To Tweet

Here is my take on some techniques you can use to streamline your own meetings, from Simplify Your Workday by Barbara Hemphill:

Circulate your agenda ahead of time.

There is nothing like attending a meeting with no focus or plan. That’s what an agenda will offer. Take the time to type it and send to the participants so they can come to your meeting prepared.

Invite only those who need to attend.

You will cut down on the amount of time for the meeting if only the essential people attend. In addition, everyone will get a chance to voice their ideas.

Keep to your agenda.

Use your agenda as the guide for the meeting to stay focused and be productive. Enough time is wasted during the work day. Don’t be the cause of more lost time.

Always begin your meeting right on time.

You can start things off on the right foot by beginning promptly and watching the clock to end on time as well.

Push for decisions.

You are wasting your time and everyone else’s if you don’t walk away with decisions made, so let that be your purpose for the meeting.

Schedule wisely.

You can stay on track by allotting a certain amount of time for each agenda item. Note how much time you are allotting for each item on the agenda so everyone is aware.

Take stock.

What I mean here is to take it seriously. You are asking people to spend their valuable time to meet with you. Above all, don’t waste it, because if you do they may not take you seriously the next time you call a meeting.

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Janet Schiesl

Janet has been organizing since 2005. She is a Certified Professional Organizer and the owner of Basic Organization. She loves using her background as a space planner to challenge her clients to look at their space differently. She leads the team in large projects and works one-on-one with clients to help the process move quickly and comfortably. Call her crazy, but she loves to work with paper, to purge what is not needed and to create filing systems that work for each individual client. Janet is a Past President of the Washington DC Chapter of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) and was voted 2016 Organizer of the Year by the Washington DC Chapter of NAPO.

7 Comments

  1. Janet Barclay on April 27, 2020 at 9:10 am

    Great reminders! I have a tendency to wait until everyone expected has arrived before starting, and this is not only unfair to those who have made the effort to be on time, but it sends out the message that start times are fluid, so even more people might show up late in the future.

    • Janet Schiesl on April 27, 2020 at 12:22 pm

      I agree. I used to run a meeting that (because of traffic) there was always at least one late person. I started on time and it was the responsibility of the late person to find out what they missed.

  2. Seana Turner on April 27, 2020 at 10:32 am

    I used to attend a monthly meeting where the leader began on time no matter what. He always said, “I want to honor those who have arrived on time by starting when we agreed.” That always meant so much to me! Time truly is a valuable asset, even when we are staying at home. Starting on time and keeping the meeting from dragging on shows respect and makes people want to attend. Once you start trying to accommodate the late, then everyone “learns” this and arrives later… it is a downward spiral.

    • Janet Schiesl on April 27, 2020 at 12:24 pm

      Yes. Time is valuable for all of us and wasting it to appease the late party is not fair.

  3. Linda Samuels on April 27, 2020 at 11:11 am

    These days, with all of the Zoom meetings and calls, it feels especially annoying if things are chaotic. A virtual meeting is different from managing an in-person meeting, but some rules apply to both. One of the things I’ve noticed is that there seems to be less management of the Zoom meetings. I find it irritating when that happens. And sometimes, when the sessions are more casual, this is especially true. One of the reoccurring issues is that an individual can dominate the meeting and not allow others to participate. I think we all have a lot to learn, including me.

  4. Gina Weatherup on April 29, 2020 at 4:12 pm

    Depending on the type of meeting, sometimes it’s beneficial to hire a facilitator – they provide a neutral voice that runs the agenda, and they co-create the agenda with whoever is calling the meeting – it frees up the meeting planner to really participate in discussion and decision-making and less watching the clock. Lots of facilitators have experience running online meetings, but you do have to ask about that if you’re considering hiring one.

    Full discloser: I am a facilitator!

    I love your points here Janet, especially (a) circulate your agenda in advance; (b) invite only those who need to attend; and (c) take it seriously!

    • Janet Schiesl on May 1, 2020 at 7:31 am

      Thanks Gina. I have attended meetings with a facilitator and as anything else, having a profession lead the group is beneficial. They keep everyone on track and make sure there is understanding on all points. I like knowing that we are focusing on the stated agenda and acting on it.

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