One of the things I truly appreciate about webinars is that they usually start on time, rarely run into overtime, or fall into the meeting that births another meeting category.
Nothing is more exasperating than a meeting that goes into overtime. So how do you keep a meeting within the allotted time frame without squashing creativity and discouraging interactions by meeting members?
Keeping your meeting on topic and within the allotted time takes discipline and effort, but not everyone takes the time to get it right. Plus, with so many ad hoc meetings, few people have the time to think through their meetings in advance and have a structured plan.
Here are a few helpful meeting tips:
1. Along with invites, make the purpose of the meeting clear by sending out the agenda points to attendees in advance. It also helps to include the items that will not be discussed at the meeting.
2. Pay attention to the number of possible attendees. Invite too many people, and vital topics may end up short of air time. Invite too few people; you may need a wider variety of opinions.
3. Pay special attention to people who are prone to long-windedness. It is a good idea to inform attendees that they should keep their comments short and to the point so that others can get equal time.
4. Setting the right tone regarding contributing input at the meeting will help attendees see you as the steward setting the direction of the meeting and the leader who encourages attendees to share their ideas.
5. It helps to acknowledge when topics go off on tangents. Acknowledge the speaker but let it be known that an in-depth discussion of the info the person presented cannot be accommodated at the current meeting. Addressing the elephant in the room head-on can help appease the dissenter and get your meeting back on topic.
6. Be careful as you transition from topic to topic, and above all, work towards ending the meeting well, which sets the stage for continued conversation on the topic discussed and for the work to continue.
After the meeting, document the conclusions, email attendees the follow-up steps, and who is responsible so no one can say they are unsure what findings were identified at the meeting.