5 Things You Should Avoid When Hosting a Meeting
Regardless of which industry you work in, attending and sometimes even hosting a meeting will be a regular occurrence. There is nothing worse than a meeting which goes for too long, has no point, delivers no outcomes, or is just plain awkward – so, we’ve compiled a list of the top five things you should avoid when hosting a meeting. If you manage to successfully avoid them, chances are you will host the productive meeting you desired.
1. Being late
Being late to a meeting that you have organised is like being late to your mother-in-law’s birthday – it’s not worth it. If you have asked people to be at the meeting at a certain time, ensure you are at least five minutes early so that you can greet everyone. This shows that you are eager to be there, and that you are organised.
2. Not preparing yourself
Planning an agenda and ensuring you are prepared for the discussion may seem like common sense, but you would be surprised how many people do not take this crucial step. As the host of the meeting, people will turn to you when the discussion dies down, or needs some direction. If you are adequately prepared, you will have no trouble in hosting the meeting, however if you are not clear on the topics that need to be discussed, it is likely that the meeting will be unproductive and a waste of time.
3. Not listening or asking questions
As the host of a meeting, it is your responsibility to listen to the different ideas being put forward, and facilitate the discussion. If you are not listening, this will be very difficult to do so. Asking questions shows that you are actively listening and wanting to discuss topics further. Trying to ask ‘open questions’ which encourage debate is a good tactic to generate new ideas and stimulate the discussion. Questions allow you to clarify the position of others, improve your understanding, as well as demonstrate your interest in getting to the bottom of the problem; avoiding them will result in very little progress.
4. Avoiding issues
Issues are not something you should avoid when hosting a meeting. Generally speaking, meetings are usually called in order to get to the bottom of a problem, implement steps towards a solution, or to review current processes. As the host of the meeting, if you are afraid to bring up issues with the attendees, there really is little point in having a meeting in the first place. Although issues can spark debate and cause awkwardness, the best way to get to the bottom of them is talking them through in a group scenario. Discussing issues demonstrates your commitment to solving problems, as well as your interest in bettering your organisation.
5. Showing little interest
As the host of a meeting, you must be interested in the topics being discussed. If you are showing little interest in the matter, how can you expect other people to engage and contribute to the discussion? Showing interest is not just in what you say – it is how you convey your ideas and engage with other people. People also appreciate authenticity, so communicating your ideas with passion and enthusiasm will assist in increased attentiveness during the meeting.
What do you think?
Can you suggest any further areas or situations to avoid when hosting a meeting? I’m sure that there are more to add to the list, however these are the top five that I have come across in my career. Please feel free to share your views in the comments box, and let me know the components you believe are crucial to the success of a meeting.
This article was written by Laura Hutton on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB.