By better I mean more effective.
Recall the last meeting you were in? Did you feel any continuity from the last meeting or was it about an entirely new topic? Did you know why you were there? Did you know what you were supposed to do after the meeting was over? Would it make sense for you to attend meetings for that group again? Was the group making progress on their goals? Do you know what the goals were?
These and other questions can be easily answered if meeting coordinators take the time to address them beforehand.
How to conduct better meetings:
Before the meeting:
1. Set and agenda (atleast 1 week beforehand)
2.Send out the agenda and let people know if there is time allotted for them to add something. For example, "Hi all, here is the draft agenda for our next meeting, if anyone would like to add a topic for discussion, please let me know. At this time we have about 20 minutes free to discuss additional topics. If there are no additions, we may end early."
3. If this is an existing working group, remind them what the purpose of that particular meeting is. Not the purpose of the group but of that particular meeting.
4. Identify someone who can take notes. Read why this is ESSENTIAL.
At the meeting:
5. Introduce yourself if you are the organizer
6. Have each person introduce themselves.
7. I like having an ice-breaker but it is optional. I'll talk about community building and activities you can do in another post.
8. Go through the agenda and ask that if anyone has something they'd like to discuss, to please let you know and you will put it on the next meeting's agenda. Also make sure they give their contact information so they are included in the next round of emails setting the agenda.
9. Explain what the previous meeting was about and what the action steps were.
Here you need to identify:
- Action to be taken
- Responsible Party
- Timeline for deliverable
10. Move on to the next agenda item.
11. Before people leave, set a date and time for the next meeting, unless this is already known.
After the meeting:
12. Send out a thank you and summary of what occurred. Summarize all action steps at the bottom with Names, actions and due dates.
13. If there are organizational items that need to be addressed, for example, you need someone to help you with XYZ, include that in the email.
In-person meetings really need to be working meetings these days. Otherwise, you can send out an email, do text-marketing or keep them engaged on your Facebook page, GroupMe or some other platform.
People are taking time and energy to do meaningful work, help them do it effectively. If you don't have a clear call to action that requires their presence, find a less evasive means of communicating.