There have been many, many writtings about how to run the perfect meeting, be effective, how to run a conference call… but still, same mistakes are made.
Video call in real life (sounds familiar?)*
Planning and organization are important for any kind of meeting, but it is essential when we have remote, multi-type of connections (phone, TP, VC, …), several locations, multi-languages meetings. And there have to be set up some rules.
Rules for a succesful “multi” conference:
1. Send the info that will be presented / discussed in advance
2. Set a clear agenda, as detailed as possible with timing per participant. Be aware of the language barriers and its possible impact on the dedicated time per topic
3. Make sure every that each attendant is aware of what is expected from him and what should they expect to get away with after the meeting
4. Decide “the meeting’ ruler”. Not mandatory to be the host, but it helps
5. Check that all those who will have to talk, or to decide about something are aware of and ready for it
6. Try as much as possible, to limit the participation to those strictly needed. Extra people (just to be there) are not invited. Keep the party under control, the less the better
6. Include in the invite where to find the material
7. If you know in advance that an important participant will not be able to attend, update the rest and let them know what impact will this have on the meeting’s development
1. Remind the rules for the game (silenced microphones, raised hand button usage, time limits, when are the Q&A allowed, who will be sending the minutes…)
2. If someone important is missing, apologize and move on. Don’t let the others think they should wait for him
IN THE COURSE…
1. Be strict. Told them to be on mute when not speaking but there is noise on the background? Mute them all. Someone is consuming more time than allowed? Next topic. Pre-work was not done? …
2. If you are the one taking notes, ask if there is something important you think you are missing
3. Stop for the important pieces (e.g. decision making points), make sure everyone was paying attention and understood correctly
4. Stick to the agenda
Having more items on the pre-session list shows us that there is no place for improvisation. To run a successful meeting means a lot of effort and time (from everyone). So, why do we still have so many? With so little preparation? Let’s change that!!!
* Hilarious, real life conf call by Tripp and Tyler