Meetings are a necessary part of business, but they aren’t always easy to manage. Your speaking ability, knowledge, and time management skills will all be tested. These tips will help you get ready to deliver information and successfully run a meeting from start to finish.
There are two main reasons to hold a meeting: to inform or present to a group, or to gather information from your team. In both of these cases, practice will help you improve your public speaking skills and anticipate any potential problems.
If you are presenting, you need to deliver your message clearly and concisely. Consider writing a rough draft of your speech in advance. Practice your statements in front of a mirror and check yourself for common public speaking mistakes like speeding up out of nervousness.
If your meeting exists to let your team report in, you’ll need to let them do the talking. Ask a few trusted colleagues to speak on one of their current projects. Practice listening actively, asking pertinent questions, and diverting attention back to the agenda when the conversation has gone off course.
Use Technology Wisely
When utilized correctly, meeting management software can improve the efficiency of your meeting. Management software lets you share documents, schedule follow-up tasks, and even allow absent team members to attend via video conference.
Choose a management software with features that will benefit your team and make sure that you know how to navigate it. You don’t want to waste time clicking through menus or learning how to use a feature while everyone waits for the meeting to progress. Make sure your colleagues are also educated on the software; this will allow file sharing, scheduling, and conferencing features to be used as efficiently as possible.
Watch the Clock
Walk into your meeting with an agenda. You should know the topics you want to cover and roughly how long it will take to cover them. After each of your talking points, budget additional time for questions and responses.
Some topics will simply take longer to discuss than you initially planned. Don’t shut down important conversations, but be prepared to get things back on track. Try not to let the conversation continue past the conclusion of a talking point; listen for a decision, repeat it back to the team, and move on to the next item.
As the leader of a meeting, your job is to facilitate the process of sharing information. The more prepared you are, the smoother everything will go. Plan ahead, practice important lines, and walk in the door with confidence.
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