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How to Run a Meeting: A Complete Beginner's Guide

By Jessica Wishart

    Wed, Jan 22, 2020 @ 09:00 AM Effective Meetings

    One of the best practices we recommend to all of our clients is rotating facilitation duties for your team’s How to Run a Meetingweekly adjustment meeting. There are a few reasons for this: having different styles and facilitators keeps the team engaged in the meeting week after week, and giving everyone on the team a chance to facilitate builds leadership skills and encourages taking ownership of the team meeting. With a more engaged team, you’ll have a better meeting and be more likely to solve problems rather than waste time on status updates. But, meeting facilitation is a skill - and one that everyone on the team might not be comfortable with at first.

    Here’s what beginners need to know to run a great meeting:

    • Be Prepared. This really applies to everyone in the room - everyone should have a "meeting with myself" and come to the meeting with their status and action items up to date, with comments on any Red or Yellow priorities or KPIs, and with their plan for the week (or Week in Sync notes) ready to share. But, the facilitator should go a step further and set aside some extra time before the meeting. Review the status and read the comments from the team in advance. Read over the week in sync notes.
    • Plan the Agenda. We have a recommended agenda for a successful weekly adjustment meeting that anyone can use to have a great meeting. But, as the facilitator, you have control over where you want to spend the most time in the meeting. If you see a major stuck on your team’s dashboard, maybe you decide to shorten the other agenda items and have an in-depth discussion to solve that problem. Or, if your dashboard is mostly Green, you might look at your parking lot for your team to see if there are other discussions that would be good to have during your meeting time.
    • Get Comfortable with Your Tools. Some companies use slide decks or spreadsheets to run the weekly meeting. You might have to go in and out of multiple software systems - like a CRM or ERP system, for example - to have the right discussions. Or, you might be using Rhythm to review your dashboards and run your meeting. You might all be in the same room together, or you might rely on a virtual meeting platform to bring the team together. However your team does it, be sure to practice ahead of time. If you’re using a virtual meeting tool, do a dry run to make sure you know how to share your screen, join the audio, etc. Practice clicking to the different tools or screens you’ll be using in the meeting. Being comfortable with any technology ahead of time will eliminate some of the stress first-time facilitators inevitably feel.
    • Set Up the Room. Arrive early to the meeting room, and make sure everything is set for a great meeting. If you are physically together in a conference room, be sure you’ve got enough chairs for everyone and that the room is clear of clutter and distractions. Providing coffee and snacks can go a long way if you are trying to win over the team. If you are hosting a virtual meeting, be sure to start the meeting about ten minutes early so you can be ready to start on time.
    • Understand Your Role. Many people fear facilitation because they associate it with public speaking or standing in front of the team and doing a lot of talking. A good facilitator does just the opposite. Rather than talking a lot, a good facilitator asks the right questions and lets the team do the talking. Depending on the personalities on your team, you might have to reign in some of the people who love to talk so that others also have a chance to participate. Think of yourself more as a guide - you are there to lead the team through the agenda you’ve pulled together, focus the discussions on problem-solving, and ensure that everyone has a chance to participate.
    • Capture the Next Steps. Another important job of the facilitator is to ensure that any next steps or adjustments that are discussed are captured. If you are using Rhythm, record action items or comments as the team solves problems together. This way, you can hold each other accountable to the next steps you’ve agreed to during the meeting. Some teams split the role of facilitator and note taker. If you aren’t comfortable doing both, be sure to assign this important job to someone else in the room so that nothing slips through the cracks.
    • Cut Yourself Some Slack. The best part about rotating facilitators on the team is that everyone else has been in the same boat. If you get stuck during your meeting, don’t be afraid to ask for a lifeline. And, don’t be afraid to be yourself and have a little fun with it. Having different facilitation styles is part of the benefit of rotating facilitators, so don’t get too worried about doing it the exact same way your boss does it. Plus, you’ll learn from doing it once and only get better and more comfortable the next time it’s your turn to facilitate.

    Whether you are a veteran or a newbie, hopefully, these tips will give you some confidence going into your next weekly meeting facilitation. If your team doesn’t already rotate facilitators, maybe it is time to start - mix it up and have some fun while building your team’s skills. Who knows, as your company grows, your team members might have teams of their own some day.

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    Additional Rhythm Systems Meeting Resources:

    How To Have Effective Weekly Staff Meetings (With Sample Agenda Template)

    Download our weekly meeting agenda

    Are You Having Weekly Meetings with Yourself?

    Supercharge Your Meetings with This Effective Weekly Meeting Agenda

    Weekly Adjustment Meetings vs. Weekly Status Meetings (Infographic)

    Consider using Rhythm Software to run your weekly meeting, where the status and agenda are automatically created every week to keep you on track!

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      request meeting with Rhythm Systems

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