One of my clients recently asked me for my top tips to make their hybrid (in-person and virtual) meetings successful. Here’s what I shared with him:
1. Destination: Every meeting should have at least one clearly identified objective or purpose, the desired outcome, and a deliverable. This is the foundation upon which all the components of an effective meeting rests on.
2) People: Have the right people in the room – those stakeholders who have a role in the discussion and decision. The optimal size for any meeting is between 5-8 for a robust discussion. When it becomes more than 8, you’ll need to break up into smaller groups for more intimate conversations. And for those who suffer from FOMO – the fear of missing out – you can assure them that the meeting notes will be circulated to all interested parties.
3) Agenda: An agenda that shows the flow of the meeting to accomplish the objectives, outcomes and deliverables should be sent out 24 hours ahead of time WITH any pre-work noted. I’m a big fan of having people read/watch any information so that the team can be prepared to immediately engage in conversation. As one of my clients said, “No agenda; no attenda!”
4) Roles: While each person attending should have a functional role or stake in the outcome, there are team roles that can be shared among the team members: There is the team leader who is responsible for creating the agenda and kicking off the meeting, the timekeeper who keeps time – helping the team to start and end on time, and the notetaker or recorder who takes meeting notes/minutes and shares them with the team and interested parties. I’m also a big fan of having a “contrarian” who can push back, poke holes, or challenge the team if they are on the road to Abilene. While not appropriate for ALL meetings, having a contrarian for some meetings where the team defers to one person or where there is no disagreement!
5) Engage All: Meetings should not be a one-way presentation of ideas. Team meetings are meant to be a collaborative conversation. So make sure you engage everyone by taking a poll, going around the room, asking for ideas, etc.
6) Think Space: Extraverts love to think while speaking, so it should be no surprise that when a question is posed, the extraverts are the first to speak up. Give the introverts time to think by publishing an agenda and pre-work so everyone on the team can come prepared to discuss the topic(s), and to pausing the conversation after a big question is posed (15-20 seconds is enough).
7) Action Plan: Finish the meeting with a lightning round – going around the room to have each person confirm their action items and due dates. It’s a great way to engage everyone and to create accountability to the team.
For more information about how to lead your team in the virtual environment, use these resources.
KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CPF | Master, CSP is a high-stakes meeting facilitator and professional panel moderator. She’s been facilitating teams of executives and managers in making better decisions and achieving greater results for over 27 years. She is the author of the award-winning book, Boring to Bravo: Proven Presentation Techniques to Engage, Involve and Inspire Audiences to Action. Her latest book, 123 Ways to Add Pizazz to a Panel Discussion was published in January 2021.