Meeting Leadership – 3 Primary Responsibilities of Meeting Leaders

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As every business becomes leaner and greener, leaders look for ways to increase effectiveness throughout the organization. When you look at utilization of resources, serious consideration must be given to the time spent in meetings.

There are several questions to ask prior to calling a meeting:

  1. What is the purpose of the meeting?
  2. What are the desired outcomes?
  3. Who should attend?
  4. What is their role?
  5. What do they have to contribute?
  6. What are their logistical challenges for attending?

Too many meetings involving too many people are called too frequently! By answering the above questions above, you get the right people involved at the right time for the right reasons.

So what are the three primary responsibilities of meeting leaders?

The first responsibility of a meeting leader is to thoroughly research and understand the organizational needs and determine the desired outcome from the meeting. Then – and only then – should a meeting be called.If a meeting is called just to communicate information, consider other ways to achieve the same results. If, indeed, discussion is needed, then a meeting is the right choice. Then the question becomes, what type of meeting do you need?

The second major responsibility of a meeting leader is to be prepared. This means being prepared when the meeting is announced as well as when leading the meeting.

  1. Send a written meeting announcement or “Call to Meeting” at least 48 hours ahead of time. (Even this time frame does not give people much time to adjust their schedules.)
  2. Include an agenda so people will know
  • The purpose of the meeting
  • The time frame
  • Who is presenting
  • Topics to be discussed and
  • Expected outcome(s)

Any assignments for the participants or reminders of actions due from previous meetings should be included. Prepared participants will have more to contribute to a successful meeting.

The third responsibility of a meeting leader is to be a strong and accepting facilitator.

  1. Strong in planning, determining format, timeline, etc. and maintaining focus on the agenda.
  2. Accepting in allowing meaningful discussion, even if it is contrary to the leader’s thoughts or position, while keeping the participants on the agenda and timeline.

A successful leader encourages input from all present and knows how to limit the input of those who like to talk too much. Using good communication skills, an effective leader can paraphrase to confirm understanding or ask questions to redirect the discussion to other participants, thereby limiting the talkative participant. There are a number of other techniques to control both the lack of input and too much input while still respecting the views of the participants.

As you approach the end of the meeting time, save time to clarify questions, summarize discussion and determine next steps and assignments. Then end the meeting on time – at the time indicated on the original agenda. After all, participants made their plans according to that information. Distribute the meeting minutes within 48 hours to confirm the meeting’s outcome(s) and the next steps, including specific assignments and deadlines.

If you do this, you will be seen as an effective meeting leader. Participants will respect you for being prepared, giving proper notice and follow up, facilitating fairly, and starting and ending your meetings on time.

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Source by Sherry Day

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