Leading meetings well is extremely important if you want to make them effective and useful. There are many myths about important things you should consider prior to holding a meeting. Here we will debunk some of these meeting points and ensure that you are equipped to provide the best meeting possible.
Myth 1 – Bring enough copies of the agenda for all of the meeting participants.
Truth – Surely you want your participants to do some preparation beforehand? If they know that you are going to provide them with a copy of the agenda they won’t bother bringing their own copy. This means that many will not even bother to read it. Don’t worry, after a couple of meetings where you don’t bring the agenda for them, they will soon get the idea.
Myth 2 – Wait for all participants to arrive Meeting Room Equipment before you start your meeting.
Truth – Always start on time. If you have six people in your meeting and delay your start by ten minutes this equates to an hour wasted in total. Once again people will soon get the idea that your meetings start on time and will arrive punctually.
Myth 3 – If your meeting is part of a series always start by dealing with ‘Apologies for Absence, Minutes of the last meeting and matters arising from the last meeting.
Truth – Why? If you have got a good solid reason for starting in this way, then do it. This may be the traditional approach but is it always necessary? For example, could some of this be dealt with by e-mail before the meeting? How about starting with a few introductions. Do all the people attending know each other? If not, you should deal with this first. It is also a good idea to state the objective(s) of the meeting and an overview of the agenda to help focus everyone on what you are going to be doing. This is also a good time to agree ground rules for the meeting.
Myth 4 – It is the leader’s job to lead the discussion on all agenda items.
Truth – There is no reason why different topics cannot be led by different people. In fact, sharing responsibility in this way can help to encourage everyone to participate a lot more.
Myth 5 – Don’t allow the participants to express their feelings about the topics under discussion as this is unprofessional.
Truth – Why not? It is valid for them to say whether they are ‘happy’ or ‘unhappy’ about something that has been proposed. However, you do need to make sure that you keep this under control, and you certainly must make sure it does not degenerate into a battle of personalities.
Myth 6 – The timings on the agenda are approximate and it does not matter if you over-run.
Truth – You might think that it won’t hurt for an agenda item to over-run by five minutes. After all you can make up the time on another item. But, can you really? Chances are you will let every item over-run and run out of time. If an item is important enough to deserve more than its allotted time you have a couple of options. 1. Reschedule to discuss that item on another occasion 2. Re-negotiate the agenda with the other participants. Can other agenda items be deferred?