SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Andy Thurai, Liz McMillan, Kevin Benedict, Zakia Bouachraoui, Elizabeth White

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Three Reasons You Need A Strong Leader For Effective Meetings

Three Reasons You Don’t Know Your Business Meetings Are Failing

Running a meeting is challenging enough when your whole staff is physically present in the office. When you’ve got staff overseas and working remotely in different time zones, scheduling and executing a successful meeting takes careful coordination to plan and execute.

Not everyone is cut out to run a business meeting, though. If the person leading your meetings isn’t a strong leader, they shouldn’t be running your meetings. Here’s why:

  1. A strong leader is unafraid to “cut people off,” not with rude intentions but to keep the meeting on track.
  2. Meetings need to go somewhere intentional, not just be a 30-minute dump of information. A strong leader knows how to guide the meeting forward and achieve a measurable outcome.
  3. Your staff members need a deadline attached to any deliverables they’re assigned, and only a strong leader can prevent people from wiggling out of committing to a deadline.
  4. An effective meeting will start on time, end on time, follow an agenda, and only include necessary people. A strong leader knows how to orchestrate this and can project their authority to make it happen.

If your meetings aren’t going so well, the solution might be as simple as switching out the person who leads the meeting. Here are some ways to tell if your meetings are ineffective:

  • People show up late. This means your meetings aren’t being taken seriously.
  • Your meetings extend over their end time. This means you’re not respecting your staff’s time.
  • You have no agenda, make it up on the spot, or only a few people receive the agenda in advance. If people aren’t prepared for the meeting, it’s not going to be effective. Consider ditching your last minute Word documents for a professional meeting agenda tool like Meeting King. With this software, your team can collaborate before, during, and after your meetings. This makes it easy to share files and hold people accountable for tasks assigned during the meeting.
  • You regularly discuss items that are not on the agenda. Not everything is urgent, and anything not on the agenda needs to be saved for the next meeting so people can prepare and your meetings don’t run over.
  • It’s a struggle to connect your remote team members. You’re probably using inconsistent, unreliable software like GoToMeeting or Skype. Consider using Uberconference – software specifically built to connect teams around the world with audio, video, and screen sharing without cumbersome pins and software downloads.
  • You hear babies, dogs, birds, and other distractions in the background of your remote workers who call in.
  • You’re discussing the same items you discussed at the last meeting. This comes from a lack of accountability.
  • People don’t walk away from the meeting with an objective attached to a deadline.
  • Someone different runs the meeting each time because you want to “be fair.”

All of these are symptoms of inefficient meetings. Perhaps the most important (and ignored) aspect of running your business meetings is setting expectations ahead of time with all of your team members. This is the number one reason to assign a strong leader to run your meetings.

A strong leader will set expectations by:

 

  • Establishing ground rules for everyone to follow inside the meetings. Rather than dictate to everyone what they’re expected to do and how to behave, it’s more effective to have an open conversation with your staff and ask for their willful agreement to specific rules.

    Saying things like, “can we all agree to these ground rules?” and asking, “does anyone have any objections to these ground rules?” is one way to handle it. This gives people a chance to absorb the information without heavy resistance. Then, later on if they break the rules, you can gently remind them of their prior agreement.

    Prior agreement creates an anchor in their personal responsibility for their actions. If you never create expectations, you can’t expect compliance. When you have non-compliance from people who were unaware of the rules, you can’t hold them responsible.
  • Making it clear the rules apply to everyone. You might always be ready to apply the rules to everyone, but if only a couple of people routinely break them, they’re going to feel like they’re being targeted whenever you have to redirect them.


If you’re going in circles trying to get things done, you need a strong leader to run your meetings. Everyone has their strengths, and if leading meetings isn’t yours, it’s okay. Once you find the right leader, you’ll know because people will show up on time, and you’ll see a boost in your team’s productivity.

 

More Stories By Larry Alton

Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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