If you are a leader, it’s likely at some point, you will be asked to or need to lead a meeting or facilitate a small group, or perhaps a project that includes several people and multiple meetings. So how can you lead effective meetings that your team will not hate being a part of?

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As a leader, it’s vital that you develop certain character traits that will allow you to lead effectively. But it’s also important to develop practical skills, and one of those is the skill of leading and facilitating meetings. It’s inevitable that, as a leader, you’ll be tasked with leading a meeting. So in today’s episode, Holly and I are sharing some tips based on our experiences of leading meetings and small groups in a variety of settings.

What to Do Before a Meeting:

Before scheduling a meeting, there’s one vital question to be asked: does this meeting actually need to happen?

Here are a few questions you can ask to help determine if this meeting needs to  be on the calendar:

  • Is there a clear reason for the meeting? Do we need to connect in person vs. via text or email?
  • Are there multiple issues to be discussed?
  • Is there value in being in-person vs. corresponding via email?
  • Is the issue or discussion complex and not straightforward?
  • Do we want to brainstorm?
  • Does it help or hurt team morale to hold this meeting?


How to Lead Meetings That Your Team Won’t Hate

Keys to Effective Meetings:

  • Clear purpose
  • An agenda
  • Someone to facilitate the discussion
  • Designated time frame
  • Defined roles
  • Make it personal
  • Create a safe environment where no answer or suggestion is wrong or stupid (be sure you are truly open to hearing other opinions/views)

Mistakes to Avoid When Leading Meetings:

  • Going too far down rabbit trails that are not necessary at the time or getting into the weeds of a particular project 
  • Lack of agenda or time frame for meeting
  • Lack of connection – i.e. being TOO focused on the agenda and not allowing for some kind of personal connection
  • Not wrapping up the meeting with a plan or clear direction for moving forward
  • Not connecting the reason for the meeting to the overall vision/goal
  • Not taking into consideration different learning styles and processing time

Challenges You Might Face When Facilitating a Meeting:

  • One person dominating the conversation
  • Some people never speak up or share their thoughts
  • People becoming defensive or angry
  • Not addressing the elephant in the room (i.e. ignoring something significant that has recently taken place)
  • Not being sensitive to the atmosphere

How to Get a Meeting Back on Track:

  • Apologize
  • Have 1-1 conversations if needed
  • Take a break or a breather and reset
  • Come back to the vision or goal
  • Set clear guidelines and parameters and stick to them
  • Talking stick (HA!)
  • Reestablish a safe place to share ideas
  • Don’t expect people to operate outside of their strengths

Action step:

Choose one aspect of leading meetings that you want to improve on or develop.

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