Meetings 101

Good meetings can seem kind of rare sometimes, but you sure know when you’ve attended one, and that’s usually because the reason for the meeting was clear, everyone was prepared, the conversation was energetic, and most importantly, the meeting started and ended on time!  Meetings are about moving forward and if you don’t feel that way at the end, you know something is wrong.

Key factors to help ensure a successful meeting…

  • a clear reason to meet
  • an organized agenda that outlines the purpose of the meeting (it should start with something simple, end with something simple, and the most challenging items should always be somewhere in the middle)
  • everyone takes the meeting seriously by arriving on time and ending on time is the one true way to respect everyone’s time
  • being prepared, there is an absolute parallel between time spent preparing and the success of the meeting
  • an effective Chairperson who can keep everyone focused on the agenda items and also encourage and allow everyone time to speak
  • meetings should be fun too, and always have something to keep people energized so they can think more creatively

If time allows, an “icebreaker” or “team building” game should be incorporated into the start of the meeting.  I personally believe ice breakers are wonderful and help get creativity going, allow the group to talk and share, and create a sense of community by getting to know each other in a casual exchange.  Google ice breakers or team building exercises, there’s a ton of great information available online.

I am the Chair for an HR/Membership Committee for a local non-profit organization and my personal icebreaker favourites are ones that are simple, quick, and fun, and which allow people to stay comfortable in their chairs.  Something simple like “If I was a colour (or a piece of fruit, or an animal), I’d be…” can also provide great insight into the other meeting participants, or even determine how they are feeling!

We’ve all attended “good” and “bad” meetings, and we would love to hear your ideas on what you think determines an effective meeting.

“Whoever invented the meeting must have had Hollywood in mind.  I think they should consider giving Oscars for meetings:  Best Meeting of the Year, Best Supporting Meeting, Best Meeting Based on Material from Another Meeting.”  (William Goldman)

~ Angela, Receptionist


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