Run successful meetings
Running a meeting is not easy. Oftentimes, meetings are too long and nothing really comes out of them. Nobody likes wasting their time and having a useless meeting can make you feel tired and frustrated, thus having a negative impact on the rest of your day.
LinkedIn executives run their meetings in a structured manner. Firstly, successful meetings need to be prepared beforehand. The meeting must result in a final decision with a commitment to take action. Finally, it has to be executed.
The following 9 steps of how to run a successful meeting are divided into the three stages of a meeting:
- Before the meeting (steps 1-3)
- During the meeting (steps 4-6)
- After the meeting (steps 7-9)
Inform everyone of the meeting success criteria
Firstly, everyone needs to know beforehand what are the goals and objectives of the meeting. Defining the success criteria of the meeting before it takes place can also avoid having unnecessary meetings.
Not only is this important before the meeting, but also during the meeting. The meeting success criteria should also be included at the beginning of the presentation and at the end (5 to 10 minutes before the end of the meeting, they should be brought up again to ensure the key decisions are aligned with them).
Use the RAPID framework to identify the key people in the meeting
The RAPID framework is helpful to make sure that none of the required participants in the meeting are missing. It's a tool to define roles in the meeting.
There needs to be an "R" (Recommender) and "D" (Decision maker) in every meeting. An "A" (Agrees with recommendation) and "P" (Performer who executes the decision) tend to be necessary in most cases. The "I" (offers Input) is optional in most meetings but can be useful as well.
Share the discussion materials a day before the meeting
At LinkedIn, ideally 24 hours before the meeting takes place, presenters are asked to share the discussion materials with those that will be in attendance. This is key in order to allow attendants go to the meeting prepared and have more quality discussion time. This also allows them to ask questions in advance which will let the presenters clarify things up and adjust their content if needed for the day of the presentation.
Start with a silent individual read-through
Leave the first 5 or 10 minutes of the meeting for everyone to quickly go over the documents they haven't read or to refresh the content if they have read everything in advance. People can read or scan through documents much faster than someone can present them orally, so doing so is a waste of time. However, if there are a couple of key slides you want to quickly discuss as a group, you can go ahead and do so.
Use as few slides as possible
For a one-hour meeting, aim for 10-15 slides, and never go over 20. If you include too many slides, chances are you will overwhelm the audience and each slide becomes hard to take in. In contrast, a presentation with fewer slides, where the audience can read each slide carefully, will be much easier to comprehend.
A tool that can compliment your presentation very well is a whiteboard. It can be used to engage all participants to discuss, brainstorm collectively, write down their viewpoints and reach a consensus more quickly.
Use the "go-around" technique to make the introverts speak up
In meetings, it is often the case that some people speak too much while others don't speak at all. The latter tend to be the less experienced or introverts in the room, who can have valuable insights but won't share them with everyone else unless they are encouraged to speak up. One way to do so is by doing a "go-around", which consists of asking a quick question to make everyone in the meeting participate (e.g. asking each person's opinion, asking a question with a 0-10 scale response). You can also use the go-around at the end of the meeting to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Share action items and notes
After the meeting, the person responsible for taking notes should share a summary of his or her notes (which includes the key decisions and discussion items), as well as a clearly-defined list of action items. Next to each action item should be the name of the person who is going to execute it.
This is key so that everyone knows what their responsibilities are following the meeting.
Share the necessary information with your teams
As a leader, following the meeting, you must inform your team of the meeting's key discussion points and the next steps that have to be taken. It's essential that they have context in order to understand how to proceed. Your team needs to have this key information to do their jobs effectively.
Follow up the meeting with effective execution
The meeting in itself means nothing if you don't execute what you said you would. You must stick to your words and take effective action to accomplish what you had planned. Once you have executed your action items, inform the note-taker in order to make the feedback loop come to an end and ensure accountability.