Making Meetings Effective and Inclusive

In other meeting posts, I have stressed the importance of pre and post meeting A's in order to have  efficient and focused meetings.  More on these A's can be found in my meeting management book.
  1. Prior to the meeting, provide a written Agenda so everyone knows what to expect.  It is also important to quickly review the agenda at the beginning of the meeting as a reminder and to make shifts in timing of items if necessary to accommodate others schedules or topic urgency due to situational changes.  
  2. After the meeting, send out an email with Actions that need to be completed with the names of the people who will do each item and when it is due for completion.  
You may also remember the meeting management podcasts on the A's and the R's from the book, which stand for Roles and Records.  Or perhaps you remember the process form the meeting wizard book, read related meeting management articles, or saw the meeting management infographic?  This time, I want to share new R's for making meetings more inclusive while keeping them effective at the same time.
  1. Respect others in the meeting by paying attention when they are talking.  Listen to their words rather instead of planning your reply or preparing your next suggestion.  Show interest with eye contact and nodding or smiling as appropriate.  
  2. Rephrase what you think you heard someone say in the meeting starting with "I think you are saying ,,," to avoid confusion.  Doing this let s the other person know they were heard and allows them to correct any misinterpretation.  It not only clarifies for the group, it can help to calm an emotional situation.
  3. Raise your hand if you have a question or concern when someone else is presenting rather than interrupting their flow.  This is a visual cue to them that they need to pause and give clarification before continuing.  If they will cover the information you seek later in the presentation, they can let the group know.  Chances are that someone else had the same concern so if you wait until presentation is done, you may miss the opportunity for valuable information.
That makes five R's for meeting management.  Another A for you to think about for meeting inclusivity is using All  words like "us" and "we" instead of "I" and "you" when appropriate.  This fosters a unifying sense of team, which is important for meeting productivity.   Now we have three A's for meeting management!


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