Prepare and conduct your meetings effectively
Tools and templates for effective meetings
For meetings to be experienced as effective and interesting, we need to go back to basics: they are above all a powerful channel for communication and decision-making. To help you, we propose a three-stage meeting model:
- Before the meeting, with the TOPP method (Theme, Objective, Participants, Plan)
- During the meeting
- After the meeting
1. Before the meeting
1.1 Prepare the framework of the meeting: the “TOPP”
"T" -> Theme: What are we talking about?
- Stick to a single topic, because :
o It would be an illusion to believe that everything will be settled in one meeting.
o The agenda must be realistic.
o participants concerned with one topic might not be concerned with another.
“O" -> Objective(s): Where are we going?
- The objectives of this meeting should be precise, ideally SMART. (Specific
"P" -> Participants: Who are we going with?
- Choose participants who are competent in the topic and concerned with the objective.
- Be clear about who will ultimately have decision-making power.
- Make sure that the presence of each participant is really useful.
"P" -> Plan: How do we get there?
- Plan a draft :
o an agenda of items to be discussed.
o a step-by-step plan for the meeting (taking stock, collecting suggestions, proposing solutions and setting a timetable).
Note: Prepare the plan in a format that you can display during the meeting so that participants can find their way around.
1.2 Involve participants upstream
- A meeting for sharing solutions, not for finding them during the meeting:
o Provide participants with a draft agenda in sufficient time for them to prepare it.
o Ask for their concrete input on the issues that concern them.
o Send out the final agenda with a reminder of the logistical points in advance.
1.3 Reminder of logistical points to be communicated
o the place
o duration of the whole meeting (max. 1h30)
A time and an order of priority will be assigned to each subject.
o In the case of recurrent meetings, plan to hold the meeting at the same time and on the same day each time if possible, so as to create a habit that will limit forgetting.
2. During the meeting
- Set the scene by recalling :
o The agenda.
- Appoint :
o A time keeper, who will keep track of the duration of the meeting and each of its stages.
o A secretary or clerk, to record the important elements and decisions that will be taken.
2.2 During the meeting
- Display the Plan so that everyone can see the progress of the discussions. - At each stage :
o Make SMART decisions.
o Identify actions, responsible persons and deadlines.
2.3 In conclusion
- Recall the objective of the meeting, and check that you have achieved it.
- Recall the key elements and decisions, so that everyone shares the same perception of the decisions taken.
- Thank everyone for their contribution.
3. After the meeting
- Send minutes including a record of decisions
- At the next meeting on the same topics :
o To formalise the progress made and avoid any omissions or misinterpretations
o To inform those absent
o To measure what has been achieved,
o to congratulate each other on successes and
o to analyse the difficulties encountered.
PUT INTO PRACTICE
- At your next meeting practice using this tool.
- Note your remarks:
- What did you observe that was different from your previous meetings?
- What did you like about it?
- What was the overall impact of this meeting?
- What could you have done differently?