Meetings: How to Run Them

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How to Run a Meeting

  • Give the meeting purpose --- set an agenda with clear objectives. Be precise about what you want the meeting to achieve, such as 'to fix the budget for...' not 'to discuss the budget...'.
  • Send out the Agenda in advance. Ensure all relevant material is included. Attendees really need to read the information so that they are informed and able to make a decision. Some people have much to contribute but need time to consider their opinion. Not giving people enough time to process decisions is poor leadership and will result in worse decisions and can be a cause of unhappiness in a team.
  • Invite the right people --- decide who should be present and tell them why they have been asked to attend. (Note that the complexity of communication is proportional to square of the number of attendants.) At the start of the meeting, ask people to introduce themselves to the rest of the group.
  • Be prepared --- assemble presentation materials such as whiteboards, and agendas in advance. Nominate someone to take the minutes.
  • Keep it focused --- set a time limit for each item up for discussion and stick to it. Don't allow people to go off the subject.
  • Start the meeting with something relational --- coffee, icebreakers, how are you?... It is much easier for people to perform well together once they have relaxed and connected with one another. This is especially true if you want trust in the meeting. I guess if trust isn't important then you can just get straight down the work!
  • Make it happen --- when a decision is made, establish who will take action and how much time they need to act: 'Bob to report back on Monday'. Have this noted in the minutes, which should be circulated as soon as possible after the meeting.
  • Take minutes! You must record the meeting so that you will be able to recall the details you discussed. Circulate minutes after as soon as possible.

Other Models/Ideas

  • IBM model: Meeting comprise of Intercession Business and Ministry (to one another). Works best if you have a long time together...
  • Why not circulate Agenda's and Minute's of Base leadership meetings to all staff on a base? (Via email for example) You will need to remove confidential discussion items, but much of what we debate is not. It is a very effective way to keep the base in touch with the leadership and deepen trust in the leadership team. Allow Staff to send in comments.