Determine who needs to be included in the meeting
- Who needs to hear the information? Who will be directly impacted by what this meeting addresses?
- Whose input is needed? Who has the skills, information, expertise, a perspective on the project, or direct experience that will be useful to getting work done?
- Who needs to have buy-in on what’s being discussed, even if not directly involved? Should they be present at the meeting, or is there another way to get their input?
- Whose support will be needed going forward when a decision is implemented? Should they be present at the meeting, or is there another way to get their input or involve them?
- Who will want to be part of this discussion and may become upset, concerned, or feel excluded if they are not involved? Should they be present at the meeting, or is there another way to update or involve them?
Identify what needs to be accomplished in the limited time you have everyone together:
- Share information?
- Share ideas?
- Brainstorm a path forward?
- Provide input on a project plan?
- Review project progress?
- Discuss functional requirements?
- Explore technical solutions?
- Solve a problem?
- Develop new processes?
- Make a decision?
Ensure a productive use of time and effort both before and after the meeting
- Determine what needs to be sent out in advance to ensure an informed and productive meeting; are there assignments from previous meetings that need to be completed before you are ready to meet?
- Document highlights of the meeting (discussion highlights, action items, decisions made, outstanding items).
- Send out meeting minutes as soon as possible after the meeting while the discussion is still fresh in people’s minds.
Run the meeting effectively
- Remember to have everyone introduce themselves if there are people in the meeting who do not know each other
- For people new to the room and/or the building, start the meeting with a safety minute that includes the evacuation route and the meeting place in case of emergency.
- Start the meeting with a review of the agenda or what you want to focus on, and get agreement to proceed.
- Actively facilitate the meeting to keep the meeting on track toward accomplishing the meeting’s purpose.
- If some participants are on speaker phone be sure to check in with them for input.
- If more than one person is speaking, manage who will speak next.
- If out-of-scope topics come up, hold the issues for the end of the meeting or for another meeting time.
- Capture action items at the end of the meeting to be emailed to meeting participants.