So, you have planned the meeting. The purpose is clear. You distributed the agenda. You know the dos and don’ts of effective meetings. Then you're all set, right?
I recently participated in a meeting that went so far off-track we needed a map and compass to get back to the office. This led to a discussion with the conclusion that we needed to have shorter, more focused meetings. It's a nice thought, but it won't happen unless the following two preconditions are met.
- Joint agreement. Unless everyone participating in a meeting agrees on the rules and guidelines and want brief and to the point meetings, even an experienced leader may find it difficult to stay on track.
- Assertive leadership. The chairman of the meeting needs to steer the meeting in the right direction, and have the mandate to do so. If not - despite the best of intentions - people will start drifting. In addition, the chairman must possess enough self-awareness not to sidetrack himself.