We love to hate meetings.
Some days are filled with one meeting after another after another … leaving little time to do your work. Another meeting invite comes in and you roll your eyes.
But meetings are an important part of business.
As an Account Executive, you’ll call a meeting from time to time. It may be with a client or a prospect. Or it’s an internal meeting.
Whoever is involved, make sure you run a successful meeting.
“People who enjoy meetings should not be in charge of anything.“
~ Thomas Sowell
We Meet Often
If you feel like you’re always in a meeting you’re not alone. Studies have shown our calendars are congested.
- Conservatively, the average employee spends approximately six hours per week in scheduled meetings, with supervisors spending more time than non-supervisors.
- According to some estimates, senior managers attend nearly 23 hours of meetings every week.
- People working for large organizations tend to have more meetings than those in smaller ones.
It’s likely some of our meetings are unnecessary.
Know When to Call a Meeting
A major frustration with some meetings is the matter could have been handled via email or a Slack chat. Before you send out that invite, make sure there is good cause to hold a meeting:
- A decision needs to be made.
- More than four people are needed to discuss the matter.
- The topic is complex and would be quicker to discuss verbally versus typing it out over multiple email strings.
- The topic is of a sensitive nature.
- The matter is time sensitive.
Once you’ve determined the need to meet, do the work to set the meeting up for success.
5 Steps to Running a Successful Meeting
Follow these steps and your meeting will run efficiently and get everyone back to their work in no time:
1. Set the Agenda in Advance
Before the meeting, send out an agenda to let everyone know what will be discussed so they can be prepared. This will eliminate surprises, save time, and keep the meeting on topic. I like to include the agenda and the meeting objective in the calendar invite.
2. Invite the Appropriate People
Another meeting killer is including too many, unnecessary people. Only include those who need to contribute to the discussion. It’s not necessary to invite people as an FYI. They can be updated later. 4 to 7 people is ideal … 10 is okay … more than 12 is too many. Prepare your list of attendees thoughtfully.
3. Meeting Setup
To get the meeting started, it’s important to set the stage properly:
- Introduce everyone on the call (if necessary)
- Provide a recap of the purpose of the meeting or any historical information that everyone needs to know or be reminded to frame the discussion
- Clearly state the goal for the meeting … what’s the key takeaway?
- Go through the agenda to set expectations
- Get the conversation started
4. Meeting Wrap up
To close out the meeting, restate the main takeaways, the next steps, responsibilities, and timing. And be sure to thank everyone for their time and input.
5. Follow up in Writing
It’s always a good idea to follow up in writing with any major decisions, responsibilities, or timing to ensure there are no misunderstandings.
Additional Meeting Tips
In addition to following the steps above, here are a few tips to ensure a smooth meeting:
- Keep it brief – Be respectful of everyone else’s time and try to limit the meeting to a half hour. An hour maximum.
- Start and end on time – Don’t let tardy attendees delay the meeting. Get started on time and people will learn to be prompt. Be sure to conclude the call on time, if not earlier.
- Follow the agenda – Do not let the discussion get off topic. If additional topics come up, make a note and discuss on another call or via email or Slack chat.
- Listen – Listen to others’ ideas, feedback and input. Do not spend the majority of the time talking.
- Take notes – Keep your own notes so you’ll have a record of the discussion and the decisions.
- Contribution – Everyone on the call should participate. If someone is quiet, be sure to ask for their input.
- Respect all ideas – There are no bad ideas. You want everyone to be comfortable providing their input and opinions. So it’s important to be respectful and appreciative of all ideas.
- Keep it moving – Sometimes a meeting may get stuck due to a disagreement or no more input. Don’t let this linger too long. Keep the meeting moving along or better yet, conclude the meeting early.
- Pre-sell major discussions – If the matter involves a major decision or a controversial topic, it’s a good idea to hold some one-on-one discussions prior to the group meeting to get some agreement.
- No unnecessary meetings – It’s worth repeating, if the discussion can happen effectively via email or Slack chat, don’t waste everyone’s time with a meeting.
Keep these tips in mind and follow these 5 steps … and no one will roll their eyes when your meeting request comes in. They’ll know the meeting is necessary and it will be run efficiently and professionally … like a boss.
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