Tips for Admin/Clerical
Don’t Forget the Essential Ingredients of a Good Meeting
Good meetings don’t just happen. They’re planned. And even when you are meeting on Skype or a conference call, the basics of good meetings apply.
• Consider whether you need a meeting in the first place.
• Think through the meeting’s purpose, outcome, and process in advance.
• Invite the right people and no one else.
• Set an agenda that uses your meeting time for discussion, not reporting.
• Plan to end the meeting with clear outcomes and plans for follow-through.
• Limit the meeting time to no more than 90 minutes.
• Start on time (whether or not everyone is there) and end a few minutes early.
Virtual Meetings Require Iron Fist Facilitation
The biggest challenge of virtual meetings is that people can’t tell when it’s their turn to speak. Even with video, it’s hard to tell when it’s your turn. So again and again, people speak at the same time.
Appoint a facilitator to function as traffic cop, spelling out the rules of engagement and calling on people when it’s their turn. Because people can’t see body cues or the interactions between participants, the facilitator in a virtual meeting plays a forceful role, both making sure that people don’t talk over one another and also ensuring that everyone has a chance to speak.
Special Tips for Combined In-Person/Virtual Meetings
Many meetings today have both people at the table and people on the phone or Internet. Unfortunately, the telephone participants often forget they are a presence in the meeting, and the people in the room forget the phone people are there at all.
Two simple strategies will help in combined meetings.
First, contact those who will be present through the phone beforehand to discuss how they will participate. Warn them explicitly about background noise and not putting the call line on hold. And let them know that they will be called on to participate.
Second, assign someone in the room to be the “bridge facilitator.” His or her role will be to connect the people on the phone or online via a computer with the people in the room, making sure they get called on and acknowledged throughout the meeting.