Three meeting management tips for any and all meeting participants.
I would bet that very few of you reading this blog don’t complain about meetings from time to time, right? However meeting participants are responsible for the success of meetings as well. Meeting management is as much about the meeting participants as it is about the facilitator, agenda and ground rules.
After all, without meeting participants there is no meeting. Though I am sure some of you would argue that you would get the same outcome with or without them. I understand.
So what is a meeting participant to do? Please consider these three tips that can dramatically change the way meetings are handled on your team or in your organization.
1. Always Ask for an Agenda. Every time you get a request to join another meeting, ask for the agenda. It is amazing how many meeting facilitators neglect to send out the agenda ahead of time.
Why is this important you ask? Without an agenda you won’t be prepared to participate in the meeting. Solid participation in meetings requires it.
Without a meeting agenda you won’t know what is being planned to discuss, what is expected and what goals and outcomes are desired; all of those are important components of a meeting agenda that many of us seldom see.
2. Ask What The Goals, Outcomes and Expectations are. My number two tip is a spinoff of tip number one. Because many meeting agendas are high level and contain few details, it is a good idea to ask about the “nitty-gritty.”
Ask about the purpose of the meeting and what the goals and expected outcomes are. At the very least this will steer the meeting facilitator in a better direction. I bet if you ask a leader of any given meeting what the goals of the meeting are, that at least seven out of ten couldn’t even tell you.
It is also important to ask what the meeting leader expects of you. I bet nine out of 10 leaders of any given meeting would initially struggle with that question. The added benefit of asking this question is you might find yourself in fewer meetings going forward once the leader discovers she doesn’t have an answer.
3. Prepare. Once you know the purpose, goals, desired outcomes and meeting participant expectations – prepare. As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, you are also responsible for effective meetings.
Spend time understanding what is on the agenda and completing assignments and pre-work. Prepare yourself to be attentive and a solid meeting participant who is engaged and active in discussion.
Do you want to have an impact on holding more effective meetings? Of course! These three meeting management tips when practiced can do that. It’s a way for you to influence more effective meetings, even if you never manage one.
Question: Do you feel meeting participants play a critical role in the success of meetings? Do you have additional tips or insights you would add? Please comment below.
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Meeting management is just as much about each and every meeting participant as it is about the facilitator, agenda and ground rules.