0486/84 16 76
Welcome to this ligtht up session on meeting process.
Last time, we saw the meeting content, today we'll explore the meeting process. In this, we focus on the people and the process to make them collaborate smoothly.
The elements in this meeting process are:
- participants choice
- decision-making process
- discussion-management process
- use of time
- roles assignment
You can save yourself and everyone else the headache by choosing participants appropriately and scheduling meetings to accommodate key participants' calendars.
Who should participate to your meeting?
I use the three following useful criteria for choosing participants to the meeting:
- Whose input do we need?
- Who's needed to make a decision?
- Whose buy-in do we need to move forward?
What ground rules or agreements will serve the group?
A powerful way to meet the social needs of team members and keep them focused on their task is to take the most important process expectations and turn them into agreements. Why? Most participants come to a meeting with expectations of how others should act. If expectations are met, people have a satisfying experience. If expectations are violated, then people become upset or withdrawn.
How do you turn expectations into agreements?
Discover important expectations and make them explicit rather than implicit. Ask you participants about their meeting behavioural expectations and write them down in a kind of meeting charter. Hang it up in the meeting room at everybody's sight.
Some helpful agreements include:
- Start and end meetings on time.
- Hold one conversation at a time.
- Honor points of view that are different than yours.
- Don't interrupt.
- Speak openly and honestly.
If you want participants to be engaged in and committed to the meeting, the decision-making process should be clearly understood. There are three basic decision-making processes:
- Autocratic, where a leader makes the decision.
- Democratic, where each participant votes and the majority rules.
- Consensus, where all members "consent" or agree to move forward before finalizing a decision.
Clarifying the decision-making process is important because nothing saps trust and morale from a group faster than misunderstandings about decision-making authority and process.
Because of its overwhelming importance to the satisfaction of participants, planning for discussion management or facilitation is a critical skill for great meeting leaders. Start with clarity about who is to run the meeting and whether the leader will also act as the facilitator.
It could be that the group leader or manager runs the meeting and calls on others to talk. A more participative format allows for the manager or leader to set the meeting objective and then take a seat with the members while another team member actually facilitates the discussion. This format encourages all members to participate.
Use of time.
People care a lot about how long meetings are and when they're scheduled. You may not be able to satisfy everyone, but some guidelines can be applied.
Look to the objective and agenda to estimate how long it will take to cover critical points. Think also about participants' schedules and preferred times. Is the beginning of the week or month better for them? Will an early or late time better accommodate the rest of their lives? Will people have to travel or meet across two shifts or multiple time zones? If you are planning a meeting that will regularly take a chunk of time out of participants' calendars, respect their time. Do all that you can to ensure the objective is clear and compelling and that the meeting time is used well.
At least four important roles are played in any well-run meeting:
- Facilitator who facilitates the discussion-process
- Recorder who takes the meeting notes
- Leader - the chairman of the meeting
- Participants - everybody
Some add a fifth role, the timekeeper. Different individuals can play each of these roles or one person can play all of them. But they all have to be accounted for if the meeting is to flow well and produce results. Planning for these roles can be an ongoing process. Determining role assignments at the beginning engages everybody in the process and validates the expectations and contributions.
Tending to both the content and process aspects of your meetings will go a long way toward making them more effective and productive.
To help you design a great meeting, you'll find a meeting checklist on my website, www.byyourside.be, then you click on sharing and then tools.
See you next time. Bye Bye.