Managing meetings effectively is a core skill every manager should develop. Although there's no mystery to what makes a meeting productive, it can take practice and attention to detail to become an effective leader of meetings. It all starts with knowing when to call a meeting, and why.
Is It a Meeting?
How do you know it's time to call a meeting? What type of meeting is it? What's the purpose of the meeting? Here are some typical situations when a meeting may be called for:
Groups are great at some tasks, like weighing alternatives and generating ideas. But sometimes a meeting is not the best or most efficient way to get something done. Some types of work are best done in subcommittees - even subcommittees of one - then presented to the larger group for review and approval. An example is the group asked to provide comments and suggested changes to a document. It is said that a committee can write the Declaration of Independence, provided they appoint a subcommittee with Thomas Jefferson as chair.
What Type of Meeting is It?
The purpose of the meeting should help determine the appropriate format. If it's to get clarification on something, a quick question at the water cooler or a visit to someone's office may take the place of a meeting. The length and formality of the meeting will vary depending on how many people are invited, how much notice is given, the size of the company (larger companies often have more formal meeting protocols than smaller ones), and who's leading the meeting. The basic types of meetings are as follows.
What's Different About Conference Calls and Videoconferences?
Conference calls and videoconferences are similar to in-person meetings, but the differences in media suggest some changes in the way these meetings are managed. Here are some tips on managing technology-enabled conferences.