Great Tips for Leading Effective Results-Oriented Meetings

September 28, 2018 by  

Most people really hate meetings because so few are well run. Many times you arrive feeling that either everything was decided by other before the meeting, or that the meeting just drags on and on and nothing appears to be accomplished and finally that the meeting was just a waste of your time.
In addition, people think that just because a person has attended lots of meetings that they know how to run one. This is a complete fallacy and we have all been at meetings that were obviously not well run.

If this is how you feel about meetings, here are some ideas you might want to use or teach to others so that meetings can be well run, achieve great outcomes and not be a complete drag or waste of time.

1. Be Prepared! Effective meetings require a well structure agenda. Make sure you and your employees are fully prepared for the meeting. It is helpful to create and send out a meeting agenda ahead of the meeting and also to let anyone you wish to have speak at the gathering understand how much time they have and what you expect them to cover. In fact, a template for the report would put consistency into those reports and help those who have to give them to do it well. The early agenda allows your employees to know what will be covered, what will be shared, and what the purpose and goals of the meeting are. When employees walk into a meeting prepared and ready to share ideas, they are more confident, more engaged, and less likely to feel like you wasted their time. As the meeting chair, time each item on the agenda and do this from the end time to the beginning. Your agenda can have that time schedule on it and you should try your best to keep to it. Long meetings just get boring, and people get tired so results will not be as good. So try your best to keep the meetings under an hour if possible, but certainly not longer than 90 minutes maximum.

2. Engage Everyone! When leading a meeting, make sure to involve and engage everyone in attendance, if possible. How do you do this? Make eye contact with everyone in the room and speak with passion, honest, clarity, and influence. When appropriate, it might be effective to start the meeting off with a relevant challenge or trivia questions to get everyone thinking on their feet. Encourage everyone to participate and share, especially in brainstorming sessions. Don’t let employees feel neglected! Keeping employees engaged not only makes meetings more productive, but also keeps the sleeping and daydreaming to a minimum. And again, if you are looking for direct reports be sure to let them know ahead of time.

3. Keep It Fresh! It is certainly important to accomplish the goals and purpose of the meeting, however, that doesn’t mean every meeting should feel like déjà vu. Keep your meetings interesting, informative, and encouraging. It is not a bad idea to offer recognition and praise for accomplishments; provide additional resources; and be sure to enjoy your meeting! Sometimes it might even be appropriate to have the meeting in a different location and offering refreshments is always a good inducement.

4. Start on time! You have already made the decision of incorporating everybody in your meeting. So as not to waste your time and theirs, your best move is to start your meeting exactly at the given time. No waiting for any late comers, practice punctuality, because if you do not, people will start coming late because you have set that precedent. Information will eventually get handed down to everybody anyway so why punish those who arrive on time? Know that when you hold a meeting, you hold everybody’s time in exchange for the important information to be discussed.

5. Record and distribute! Be sure to appoint someone to record the minutes of the meeting so that an accurate record of the proceedings can be kept for future review. In addition, you could post the minutes in a common place for all to see or better still, send them out to all the attendees. In addition, in this record will be how was assigned to do what and when the results of those tasks need to be brought back to the group. This is part of what results-oriented meetings look like.

Meetings can truly be productive and can contribute largely to the success of your team and your business. All it takes is just a few key elements to make them that work way!

5 Tips for Preparing an Engaging Presentation

September 13, 2018 by  

Here are 5 tips for preparing your presentation so that you can enjoy better audience engagement and even get more enjoyment yourself from presenting to your audience.  If you are having fun and passionate about your material, your audience will feel that and it can be contagious!

1. Start with the end in mind. To end your session try to define the key messages or concepts you want your audience to take away. By reinforcing those keys you will more likely to help your attendees remember them. Also, try to keep those key messages at 3-5, especially if your presentation is short. If you are giving a longer presentation you can increase the number but do not expect your audience to recall a large number of new ideas.

2. Limit the amount of detail to only what the audience truly needs to know….”less is more”. This is particularly true of technical material. Understand the level of information necessary for the audience and try to keep it simple, to the point, and well-illustrated with stories, pictures and or examples that will resonate with your audience.

3. Never memorize your presentation because, as many people are somewhat nervous when starting to speak to a new audience you could simply forget what you learned and then you will be in real trouble. Besides, memorized material tends to sound robotic in delivery which will not engage your audience and once you lose them you will be done! Better to truly know your material deeply, be comfortable with it, and truly understand clearly everything you plan on sharing with your attendees. You can use PowerPoint, a flip chart, cue cards, or other tools to support your presentation and help you to remember which points you wish to make. However, be careful not to put too much text up for your audience as they will be able to read it faster than you can speak it so again will disengage. In addition, you want to be natural and authentic in your presentation style and that can only be achieved when you are passionate and deeply knowledgeable about your topic.

4. Develop stories and examples that are interesting around each point you wish to make. The stories will help to anchor the key messages in your presentation and because everyone likes stories, it will help them to remember the key concepts you are sharing with them. Just be sure that the anecdotes and examples you use resonate with your audience as this aids retentive learning. Also remember that most people are visual learners so pictures that help to tell the story and illustrate the point will also be more memorable for your audience.

5. Whenever possible, know your audience and what their needs are. Speak to those specific needs whenever possible, in other words, it is best to tailor your delivery and content to their expectations and for their benefit. This will also increase the chance for better retention.

If you follow these tips you will enjoy more success with your presentations and even find you enjoy making them more, as well.  Remember, you set the tone for the audience, so if you are enjoying yourself, they will likely feel the same way…..have fun!!