10 Effective Meeting Tips I Learnt During the SEPA Project

Before you say “oh no, not another post on effective meeting tips” – give me 5 minutes…. A friend sent me a YouTube video this week about A Conference Call in Real Life. Its one of those videos that has gone viral and highlights all of those funny scenarios that you and I have experienced while on a conference call. Its hilarious and covers everything from people talking over one another and people dropping off the call due to a bad line – through to the guy on the call with a dog barking in the background!! This got me thinking, during the SEPA project I was frequently on calls with people in multiple countries and it was critical that the meetings ran as effectively as possible to meet the regulatory deadline. I am by no means perfect at running effective meetings, but I have picked up a couple of very basic and effective meeting tips that I think may help you too…

10 Effective Meeting Tips…

1. Do you really need a meeting..?

Ask yourself, is this the right time to hold a meeting? A meeting whether it is face to face or via telephone occupies both your, and your colleagues time. Sometimes you really do need to meet up and bounce ideas around and get to the root of an issue. Often a meeting is needed, but perhaps not at that particular moment. Maybe there are more questions to ask or research that needs to be done, before you call the meeting. Equally as a participant you may want to suggest to the organiser that a meeting is not required because of x,y and z.

The meeting should happen at the right time.

2. Are the right people attending the meeting?

There is nothing worse than arranging a meeting with internal teams or with external parties and finding that you have the wrong people on the call. In this scenario the meeting ends up being a bit of a waste of time, and you’re not able to help each other. Sometimes you have to go with it, its part of the learning experience:

  • As an organiser of a meeting – know what role and contribution each person can make to the meeting
  • An a attendee, assess what contribution you can make to the meeting – if you cant think of a good reason, decline the meeting

3. Ensure you give people enough notice

In short, don’t book a meeting tomorrow and expect that recipients will be able to attend, and make good contributions to your meeting goals. Which takes me to the next effective meeting tip….

4. Have a meeting agenda

What is the point of a meeting without an agenda..?!?! At least give the recipients an idea of what you want to cover so that they know what to expect and have time to prepare any information.

That said, it does sometimes depends on the type of meeting. If it is a meeting between 2 or 3 of you and you’re working on a particular problem its probably OK to send them a quick meeting invite with just the subject title “RID to SEPA Direct Debit“, or whatever the purpose is. As a close knit team they will know what you want to talk about (the purpose of the meeting)…

But do consider what kind of message you send to recipients with a blank meeting agenda….

5. Know & share the Purpose of the meeting

Is it a general catch up to understand the status of the implementation, a discussion to plan an implementation – whatever it is, communicate the goal or purpose of the meeting with the audience upfront. Also, make sure that your agenda items contribute towards the meeting the stated goals

6. Timing is crucial

Allocate enough time to cover the following:

  • All of the agenda items that you have set out
  • The goal(s) of the meeting
  • Allow for discussion, including questions and answers
  • A round up at the end where the meeting is summarised, together with any follow up items

7. Appoint a moderator

To ensure that everyone sticks to the goal(s) of the meeting! It needs to be somebody who knows the topic and can steer the discussion back on course where required. This person needs to understand the meeting goals and allow enough discussion and time to go through the highlighted agenda items

8. Appoint a note taker

To note and share afterwards, with all attendees, all of the following:

  • Date of meeting, attendees, goals and agenda items
  • Decisions that have been made, and by whom
  • Questions that need to be addressed, and by whom
  • Follow up items, and the responsible person(s)

9. Share the meetings notes

There is no point in having a meeting and not sharing any outcomes and follows up with the attendees and any other interested parties.

10. Follow up

Make sure that any outstanding questions or follow up items are highlighted in the meeting notes and that the responsible person(s) are doing the necessary.

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Effective Meeting Tips…

The type of meeting will vary – sometimes it can be a conference call, other times a face to face meeting. Either way, the above 10 meeting tips have really helped me both lead and contribute towards more effective meetings. Depending on the type of meeting and the group, the way in which you carry out the above meeting tips will differ. Sometimes the communication and approach will be informal, other times very formal. But the overriding ideas have certainly helped me become more effective both as an organiser and as a attendee. I hope the meeting tips help you too…

I would love to hear your comments about these effective meeting tips, and particularly if you disagree or feel like I have missed something obvious…

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