4 Simple Steps to a More Effective Meeting

Running a great meeting is an essential skill for any leader.

But all too often, leaders fail to approach their meetings with any kind of structure. They create their agenda the night before, or not at all. And when they inevitably lose control of the meeting, attendees take over and use the time for their own personal platform.

Having a simple framework to follow and prepare for is the key to success. Here’s a simple agenda you and your team can use for all regularly scheduled meetings.

1. Connect with your Team

Before you jump into business, take a few minutes to do an icebreaker or get-to-know-you exercise with your team.

This allows people to connect with one another on a personal level and perhaps learn something new about each other. I recommend spending 10 minutes on this segment.

2. Celebrate Successes

After breaking the ice, take time to recognize individuals and the entire team for their production, or for the ways you’ve seen them living out the values or convictions of your organization.

Remember that everyone has a desire to be recognized for their efforts in making your team a success. Don’t forget to acknowledge the efforts of those in administration and other departments not tied to actual production or revenue generation. I recommend allotting 10-15 minutes for this piece.

3. Equip Your People

As a leader, you need to demonstrate your knowledge and competence by keeping up with your industry and the latest developments that are impacting your team.

Come to the meeting ready to equip your team with a specific tool, training or industry update to help them be more successful both personally and professionally. You might consider bringing in an industry expert or a top producer train to your team as well. I recommend spending 20-30 minutes on this segment.

4. Commit to Specific Actions

Have your teammates commit to action items they will implement based on what they have learned in your meeting.

A great exercise to get the thought process going is called a “Keep, Start, Stop.”

In this exercise, individuals ask, “What should I keep, start and stop doing to improve my individual performance in the weeks ahead?” Go around the room and ask people to share. Use these action items in your one-on-one meetings with your team as well. I recommend dedicating 10-15 minutes to this piece.

Try it Today

This simple framework allows you to conduct a focused and structured team meeting in under an hour.

If your team needs additional time to discuss issues or have questions answered, require them to submit those to you 24 hours prior to the meeting so you can build additional time into the agenda for a Q&A session at the end.

I like to have this session be at the end so that if there is an issue that does not impact everyone, then the rest of the team can excuse themselves from the meeting.


This is an updated version of an earlier post, originally published Jan. 10, 2015. 


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