Top Ten Tips: Managing Meetings | Chris Jones | Skillshare

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Top Ten Tips: Managing Meetings

teacher avatar Chris Jones, Arty, farty and a tad crafty....

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (53m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Module 1: is it necessary & design your meeting

    • 3. Module 2: who is it for & organaise yourself

    • 4. Module 3: don't delay & make it engaging

    • 5. Module 4: keep on track & all about business

    • 6. Module 5: sum it up & finish on time

    • 7. Wrap Up

    • 8. Project

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About This Class

How many meetings have you sat in that were really just emails?  How much time have you wasted in unproductive and dull meetings?  Use these ten tips to refresh your meetings, from deciding on the venue to looking at energisers, from agendas to taking minutes - each step helps make your meeting the event everyone wants to be part of.

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Chris Jones

Arty, farty and a tad crafty....


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1. Introduction: Hi, and welcome to my course on managing meetings. So how many of you have actually been to meetings that really should have been little more than an e-mail or a very quick phone call. How many of you are involved in meetings where really you only need to be aware of anything that comes out of that meeting and any part you and your job or your team may actually play in that. All too often, things like this happen and some of the statistics around meetings are just amazing. So what I'm hoping to cover in this course is how to structure your meeting. So from the very start about whether or not it should be a meeting through to who should attend. So I have no look at your serious attendance list. And then categorizing those as in who should be there and who just needs informing afterwards. Through to how to kind of make some engaging content and make sure that the people they're actually leave thinking, well, yeah, That was that was productive. I want to go to those meetings again, right through to agree and actions. How you agree, sort of consensus, how you vote on what needs doing them when and by whom, um, and then things like recapping. But also pulling in some practicalities like how to, to try and keep things to time. And the reasons why you need to keep things to time and the potential to maybe create subgroups. If, if there is a strong topic on your agenda that, that needs it were real in-depth conversation or you don't want to do is make your meeting run over because again, your attendee might have other things that they need to attend. You have to be very aware of that kind of outcome as well. So the whole point of this course is to give you that rounded approach. And while we're doing it in the usual format, we're looking at 10 tips on how to do that. So each module will have two tips in it. And as you work your way through, there's a chance for you in the discussion forum to actually ask me some questions as well. And obviously, as always, there'll be some kind of project at the end of it. All right. 2. Module 1: is it necessary & design your meeting: Okay. So tip number one, and this one is a very simple one, but possibly one of the most important ones as well. And it's about taking the time to consider if you're meeting is actually really necessary and if it needs to be a meeting at all. So it's thought that there's around 11 million meetings held daily in the us. A total cost of 37 billion dollars wasted or pointless meetings each year. Just let that figure sink and 37 billion dollars on pointless meetings. So what you need to consider is, what are your aims of your meeting? Now if you want to use it to do things like foster relationships, so build that relationship with somebody, that key stake holder. If you want to use it to share lots of data and sort of results and feedback in real time. If you're going to go ahead with a face-to-face meeting, keep it short and succinct and review who you invite. So literally pare it down to those that need to be in the room and have a valid reason to be there. So when you're thinking about alternatives to meetings, think about the humble email. The email is perfect for sharing facts and figures. But one thing you need to consider is being aware of your tone when you're writing those emails. Because it isn't just the way that you write, but it's the way that it's perceived and red. You might think that you're being succinct into the point and be really efficient. Kind of sparse in your language, but it can come across as quite aggressive if it's red in the wrong way. The one thing that you don't have control over is have somebody actually read your email, whether that's very inner voice or out to be aware that feedback can be difficult to collect from several sources. So look at online collaboration tools. Don't just think about sending stuff out. How are you going to receive it back? So if you're asking people to make changes to a spreadsheet, for example, is it the right thing to do to send that spreadsheet out by e-mail to several different people and then have to collate all of their changes when it comes back. There are better online collaboration tools these days. And also review who you're sending your email too. Please don't fall foul to the BCC and SCC that everybody does know everybody in the dog needs to be informed, similar to who you invite to your meeting. Consider who you're sending that e-mail to, who needs to know, and whether it's better to send the end results once you've collated everything out to a wider audience. But the actual work in progress could be done through smaller group via e-mail. The other option as well is video conferencing or video calls. After the recent pandemic, we're obviously really, you're used to working in this way. Being on camera. Everybody has seen everybody's pet, their home. You name it. We've all seen it. But it's actually quite a good way of holding almost like a hybrid meeting. A lot of businesses now are actually using tech in their meeting rooms so that you can have so many people in the room, but so many people sitting at home actually dialing in at the same time. Or you could actually hold the whole meeting online. I always think it's useful if you want to introduce new people. So and especially if you've got a geographically diverse workforce or team, is one way for everybody to at least see that face and interact in real time. So it's quite useful in that way. A lot of systems obviously allow screen-sharing so that you can review documents, you can talk through things like agenda items, that kind of thing. Lots as well. Also have things like breakout rooms and white boards. So as a trainer, I find these really useful because it means that my traditional way of training can actually translate online at the same time without too many hiccups. And so we can still do that collaboration online as well. So if you're having some like a hackathon or some kind of creative brainstorming session. You can still actually replicate that via video call. You don't need to all be necessarily in the same room, at the same space, at the same time. The other option sometimes feels a bit like a poor relation, which is the traditional humble phone call. It's the simplest and easiest to access. The majority of us have some kind of phone, whether it's actually wired into the wall or smart phone. Most people these days have some form of smartphone on them. I think we do tend to forget that we don't have to use an app. You can just pick it up. Press the buttons, speak to somebody. There's no issues over things like compatibility around software or apps. If you're using a particularly vagal unknown video conferencing software, now everybody's going to have access to that. But again, you go back to a simple phone call everybody does. And there are conference lines that you can use as well, which will bring everybody together. Downsides, obviously, you can't see or share data, but it could be emailed ahead and could be read through it like that. Sometimes it is forgotten in favor of more complex solutions. And sometimes the simplest one is best. As the saying goes, Keep It Simple, Stupid. That works as well. I think in wrapping up this one, you need to bear in mind things like the cost of a meeting. The average meeting in the US cost anywhere between 350.650. And the average employee spends over 33 percent of their working week in meetings. If that's still going to continue to make sure that they are productive ones. Okay, so tip number two, and this one is all about designing or planning your meeting. It's about putting in the work ahead of the event to make sure they run smoothly, is engaging and actually works for the people who are going to be in that room, as well as yourself in terms of output. So as I've already said, when I talk about designing your meeting, I mean about planning it. It's the next step after you decided you're meeting needs to be an actual meeting. This is by looking at it as a whole and not about its parts. It's helping you decide on who should be there and where and when it should happen. Again, it's that thing. Should it happen first thing on a Monday or last thing on Friday? Are the ideal times? Are your intended audience available at particular times? Do they fit into their calendars? Is it the right time of particularly a period or a month for them to do it. All of these things need to be considered in your planning. And that's where the planning ahead actually helps you make sure that this meeting happens and that the right people are available to be in the room at the right time. So one thing I always try and do when I'm doing any kind of meeting designer meeting plan is, what's my objective? What's my clear aim for the end of this meeting? Why are we there? Why are you asking the people to be there? What will be achieved by the end of your meeting. So similarly, when as a trainer, I'm writing a training program, I'll have a set of aims and objectives. So by the end of this training course, you will understand x, y, and zed. By the end of this training course, the objective is that you will have several tools in your arsenal to be able to hold more effective meetings, something along those lines. And then I will work towards that. I will plan against that. So at the end of that training session, you will be able to achieve that. I'm not setting you up to fail with this. If you are holding this meeting, if you're chairing this meeting, the whole point is that you then get to the objective by working out your agenda. Okay? So once you've figured out exactly what your objective or aim is, now you can decide on some of the details, and this is where the planning comes into it. So where is this taking place? When is it taking place? How long for and do you need to do the wiggle room DNA to add in some kind of time allowed so they can make sure that you do actually reach where you want to reach. But you'd be happy if you finished save 30 minutes earlier, that kind of thing. So when we talk about when is it taking place? Monday and Friday meetings tend to be much less effective than those that are held in mid week. Monday threshed out to the week, but there will still be work that's come in or still needs to be finished off from the previous week. People do not usually like attending meetings first thing Monday morning, similarly, last thing, Friday afternoon, definite. No-no. People are winding down regardless of your role. You're usually trying to clear the desk before you can get the door and have your weekend. And researchers kinda come back and said that the optimum time for a meeting is somewhere around Tuesday at 02:30 PM, believe it or not. But I do think a lot of that is personal preference. So so Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and it can be a MPM, that kind of thing. I mean, I'm fairly flexible on that. Baidu tend to avoid meetings Mondays and Fridays if I can. And then your final tip here is around your agenda. It's the one things that most meetings have in common, but the one thing that a lot of hosts or wrong, one thing you need to discuss is how simple if you're going to share an agenda and events have simple do you want it to be? How complex, how detailed? I find that the less detailed is when it goes out to if you just have the main broad headings, it does mean that there is that wiggle room so that if you need to drop something or not going to suddenly goes in as much depth to be able to meet that time deadline. You're not tied to it because it's on the agenda because you may well find that somebody within that room has come because you've mentioned certain buzzwords in an agenda item. And 60, 33% of meetings actually do not have an agenda which I find clubs marking. Because how do you know what your aim is, what you've achieved, how you've covered it. How do your attendees know what to expect? Because you've given them no details. How did they know? They don't do they so you kind of have to work with something, even if it is as simple as just brought headlines. 3. Module 2: who is it for & organaise yourself: Tip number 3 around meetings is around who is it for? So when you've looked at some of your planning and some of the details, you've kind of agreed that it is going to be meeting its a set time was that venue, et cetera. But this one is vital and that's why I think it needs its own tip, which is around who's the right audience for your subject? To. One thing you need to carefully consider is who needs to be actually in the room, whether that's physical or remote? Who needs to be there in real time? If you think about the cost of your meeting in headcount versus how hourly rate is it worthwhile? I have been invited to so many meetings where I've got a very distant interest that it really isn't worth my while. And sometimes you do feel like you're offending people by declining the meeting. So I tend to do is if I don't feel I need to be there is email back on it statewide. But say that you you you're quite happy to be kept updated, uninformed. So if they don't need to be there, could there be another way that you can keep them up-to-date? And the other thing to bear in mind is, does their attendance affect business productivity? Because again, there may well be reasons why you need somebody to be there, but if they're on the front line of your customer service department, for example, then your productivity on that particular department will dip while they're in with you for an hour. Is their attendance necessary to that extent or could you potentially just keep them informed afterwards and ask for their comments on any outputs. So via the agenda, via the minutes, via natural log, is there a better way of actually keeping them updated to, as mentioned previously, who can just simply be updated. So if they don't need to be there in person, what happens? How do you keep them updated? So if you have kinda planned your meeting, you've got your agenda item, you've got your audience. After the meeting or during the meeting, I should say, and then after a set of minutes should usually be shared. So instead of just sharing it with the people who were there, could you potentially share it with a wider audience of invited or interested parties? Do they need a say in what happens next? So if you, your meetings, for example, are in regular basis, say you're in an actual planning group or a Design Group. Annual meeting happens once a week. And do they need a say in what happens at the next meeting? So are they, if they're an interested party in a particular project we're working on, do they need to know and be able to say, you need to take this route instead. So these are things that you need to consider. So sometimes you'll find that they don't need to be in the room. They don't need to be kept updated, but what they do need to see occasionally or the output. So thinking about senior leaders, your exec, your directors, senior managers, who potentially out that close to the actual DO of the job. So they don't roll their sleeves up and get their hands dirty, if you like. However, they may well be questioned on it in the next director's meeting. So they would like to know what's being done and that is being done. So again, can you use things like data-sharing tools or apps to provide them with access, without directly involving them. Think about things like an action log and a set of minutes that you just share with them ASM, when carefully consider these kind of things and to make your decision wisely. This tip is all around organization. It's about how key organization is to any meeting at all. Something that I think you need to consider is when you're designing your agenda, is there information that you need to give people prior to your meeting? And if there are sorts of report or data that kind of thinking, what do you do with it? How do you disseminate it? How did you send it through? There are an awful lot of file-sharing gaps these days. And there are systems that you can use to actually share reports and minutes, things like WeTransfer, etc. But there are also collaboration tools that you can use online where you can actually see things real time. Um, one of my favorites is Trello, very simple to use and great for sharing ideas and actions and information and keeping track of things as well. Because again, it's ramus or smokes to me of a project management tool, which is quite good because coming out of your meeting might be actions that you want to use and keep track of and organize. And this allows you to do that and move things from board to board and organization. Let's be honest, it's a bit of an art form and it is one that is essential to meetings. I've called this tip, organizing yourself, but don't take it too literally because it's not about you, it's about organizing your meeting. So some top tips around organizing yourself, organize your information and make sure that the people that need to have access to it have access to it ahead of your meeting. That ensures that everybody starts on the same page. And that means that there's no need for a recap and it doesn't eat into the time that you've allocated to a meeting. And consider who needs what, when and where, who's come into the meeting and what do they need sharing data, but how do you do that? So again, consider your options, make sure that everybody actually does have access to that. Because again, I've been included in meetings where potentially firewalls that that you might have within your business or personally don't actually allow you to access that information in the way that other people can, which puts you at a disadvantage. So, consider that before you start talking about ways that you're going to share your information, make sure that everybody can access it, that there are no firewalls in place that will prohibit that. Otherwise, it may be that you just use something as simple as WeTransfer or you just send it as an attachment. Old-school sometime is the best. And sharing information. Do they need to in advance, do they need something in the meeting as a prompt? Do you need to show it on screen? Is it something that needs to go afterwards? So it's something that really they need to be aware of, but you can actually share with them after the meeting as part of the minutes and action logs. And logs. So simple. Keep them as simple as possible. There are project management ones out there that are so complicated. But again, going back to your audience, don't forget, not all of them are going to be project managers. Not all of them are going to understand the language of the lingo. They're not going to be up to speed with all of this. And you don't want this to turn into a training session. What you want those people to be able to access, what they need to access in a way that they need to access it as simply as possible. Kiss, keep it simple with the other acid. And also at the start of this, you kind of say yourself, your name or an objective for your meeting. Keep that in mind. Keep in mind what your goal is. And again, you may be the chair, you may be the host of this meeting, but you are there as an interested party two and you are there to push it along and get to that final aim. So prepare and published information and supporting documents ahead of time where necessary. Encouraged pre-meeting review so that you can don't spend time in your meeting doing that. So anything that comes back to you with comments, update, made sure that people are aware of any updates ahead of the meeting. And therefore, you can actually get to an outcome in your meeting. I think that kinda covers it for now. All right. 4. Module 3: don't delay & make it engaging: Okay. So for tip number 5, we're talking about don't delay. And basically it does what it says on the tin. It is about starting on time, starting as you mean to go on. If you have latecomers, if you have people who've said that they're going to actually attend, but are there at the start of your meeting. Bear in mind that people who have actually turned up either ahead of time or on time and are in that room, you're holding things up for somebody who hasn't turned up, potentially hasn't had the good grace to let you know that they're delayed. So start. You can always bring people up to speed afterwards, but make sure that you start respect the people who were in that room. Also, you spend time doing your agenda and you should have timed out your meeting to make sure that it's going to cover everything you wanted to cover. And you've allocated time slots for everything. So if that's the case, holding your meeting up by 5, 10, 15 minutes while somebody is late. Don't know. Again, to meet that disrespects the people who were actually on time and are in that room. And it may be for unforeseen circumstances, that's fine. They can always be brought up to speed. They will read the minutes there will read the action log. They're not going to miss that much if they're only going to be five or 10, 15 minutes late. If they're longer than that, then potentially they might need to just dump out the meeting. They may not turn up at all. So holding your meeting up, just hold you up. The other thing as well is NADH, it goes back to one of the other points around being social event. It's not social event. So you may find that if you are holding your meeting up for a couple of late comers, that the people in the room start having a matter, having a chat, doom, their own breakout stuff. And that's what you don't want because that is your job then to try and pull it back and it can be difficult to get their attention again and get that same energy that you got when they're first sat down in that room ready to start. So you're meeting basically been put in place for potentially a specific aim or a topic, or keep it on track and keep it to that and focus on that alone. Sooner you start, the sooner you finished and everybody can get out and onto their next meeting on to the next corner, on to their next task. And holding people UP actually has an impact potentially on the rest of the whole day. For me as well, this is about being professional. So starting with time, showing up on time, encouraging others to do the same. Again, people get the impression that you are a professional and they will want to come to your meetings again because you're efficient, your meeting start on time, your meetings finish on time. And if you followed some of the other tips that we've got in here, your meetings are engaging, so their meetings that they want to attend. And how do you deal with latecomers? So if you do have somebody who hasn't told you that they're going to be later and suddenly the door opens and they come in 1520 minutes late. It can be quite tempting to, to potentially make a joke of it or show them up in some way, shape, or form, even if it is lighthearted. And don't, don't make examples over them and don't drag out there potentially embarrassment because again, you're not them, so you don't know how they might be feeling. They might be really, really sorry and repentance, but they may not show it necessarily. Everybody's personality is different and everybody deals with things differently. So for me personally, I wouldn't not aim to show somebody up and kind of showcase the fact that they've disrespected you. You might feel that insight, but crossover it, be professional again and bring them up to speed if you have any breaks or at the end of the meeting or just mentioned that you can catch up with them and other type excuse me at another time or potentially that they're going to get the minutes, the agenda, the action log. So, you know, they're going to actually catch up. So not to worry so much. There the thing here around Lake and was I suppose as well as explaining potentially at the start or during the meeting, your process for sharing outcomes of outputs. So that if they do miss something, they're aware that they can cover that off at a later point. And it will be shared after the event. So there shouldn't be any disadvantage or they'll still have the same information as everybody else that was getting slightly later and they may have missed out on a bit of conversation. Did a good point here is that by doing this, by being professional, by starting on time and being quite strict about it. You soon get the reputation that your meetings start and finish on time. And the knock-on effect is that people will either make it on time and be there because they know that you are starting at this time, the agreed time. Regardless, there's no wiggle room. And they'll either make it or if they are unable to, then they'd let you know that they're going to be late because it's polite, it's professional. And if you are professional and that should foster that same kind of reaction from other people as well. A tip number 6, we come to one of my favorite subjects which is about how do you make a meeting engaging and as an experienced trainer facilitator, I still can find it quite difficult to do. So what you need to do first and foremost, and again, this links in with the earlier modules around things like planning and designing your actual meeting is creating an interesting agenda. So once you've decided what your objective is, what your aim of your meeting is. How do you get there in a way that's going to engage with your audience. And try and think of a variety of ways of doing this. Variety is the spice of life as they say. And making sure that you invited the right people is always a good one because you know, those or potentially, you know, those invitees better than anybody else. So you'll know who is actually a good speaker, for example, or has a good opinion. Even if it's controversial, at least it stimulates really interesting conversation. One statistic I came across that I found really odd is that over 39 percent of attendees have admitted to snoozing in a meeting. How embarrassing would that be as the chair or the host of that meeting to suddenly said there, ask a question and be hit by a barrage of snoring. I think we've all heard the dreaded phrase, icebreakers. And recently company that I worked for was taken to calling them energizers, which I think is quite good because it is about building the energy in the room and stopping people's snoozing. But somebody actually said, icebreakers actually makes for ice makers. And is it dips the energy at deep depths, the heat in the room. They bring things right down and people will fall asleep. So I've put in here about thinking about adding in some form of icebreaker. So do research about your attendees. Make sure that anything that you come up with will land well, there is nothing worse than having the best intentions in the world and having done your research online and found something that you really want to use. Only to find that when you get there your audiences completely different. And, and even the slightest bit receptive to what you're trying to do is one of those situations, and I've been in it where you kind of quite happily what the ground to open and swallow you and try and be creative and don't use the same old things. So I mean, there, there are a few that do around and it feels like you fall back on them far too often. And everybody knows them. And it does just basically kill moot. Because everybody knows how to do it and everybody tries out the same old answers. Try and be creative about it. Try and think if somebody different and if you do need to build our energy, then get people out of their chairs and get them doing something. Seriously on somebody like this. Google is your best friend. There are a million and one things out there that you might be able to adapt in some way to your size of your meeting or session wherever it is that you're doing this for dead. There are a lot out there. There's also some really, really good books. So Planet carefully. The other thing that I think sometimes gets overlooked is inclusivity. And if you've kind of research do your people, if you've invited the right people, you should also make the time to make sure that they will contribute. And there anything that you've got planned, anything that you are gonna do is gonna hit the right note. So this is about making sure that you're not doing something that will innocently exclude somebody, whether it is through an ability or disability, for whatever reason, whether they're an introvert and really don't like the kind of icebreaker that you've designed. You kind of need to get to know your audience a little bit ahead of the time if you possibly can. And if you can't, then choose something that will just be as inclusive as possible. Also, the piece about being in the room and being present is by ensuring that you are there and that you don't zone out. But you also doing constant check-ins to make sure that people are taking part. And if they're not, use your skills to find out a way to make sure that they are being included, that they are taking part, that they are encouraged to do as much as possible and have as much say in the outputs as possible. The final one here is really where I was fairly self-explanatory. And it's about not just presenting, so don't just talk at people. If you think of this as almost like a structured conversation. So your structure comes from your agenda, and that is the whole point. Each of these chunks in your agenda should be a bit of a conversation that builds on the next piece. So don't just sit there and talk at people. Make sure it's a two-way street hand. And that you do encourage debate and contribution because that's the whole point of this meeting. It's not just you disseminating information because if that's what you end up doing, then simply send whatever you've got by via email and ask for comment. If what you're after is other people's opinions. And you want to in real time so that you can make changes there. And then, then it's a meeting that you need. Make sure that you're actually giving people the opportunity to provide that input. You want a lively discussion. You want to make it engaging. And it's your job as chair or host to make sure that you facilitate that and give people as much chance as possible to be able to do that. 5. Module 4: keep on track & all about business: Okay. So for tip number 7, we're talking about keeping things on track. Now. We've talked about how you make, engage in engaging, how you design your agenda, how you make sure the right people are in the room, all of that kind of stuff. Fantastic. But how do you make sure that you're meeting stays on track and keeps its focus. So for me the main thing is to make sure that you never lose sight of your aim. So what is your objective of the meeting? What do you want at the end of the meeting? But also your agenda. If you spent time writing up an agenda, even if everybody else might have a lighter version of it with less detail, you also probably have more detail sorts of topics that you want to cover that kinda thing. Timings maybe work to that and keep it to that and keep on track. So if you've allowed 15 minutes for a discussion on something, if I do that, come to a consensus, get to a point where you can end that conversation within that 15 minutes. If it's going to rollover and it feels natural to, then you're in charge of this meeting. So you potentially have to either drop an agenda item or shift things around a little bit and spend less time on another topic on your agenda. As the chair of facilitator, it's your role to keep things going and running smoothly, made sure that it stays relevant. That's another thing as well because people will go off topic. And as a facilitator or chair or host, it's your job to actually draw them back in. Bring them back to the point. If they have something valid to say, Fantastic. Maybe it's for another day, it's for another agenda item is under any of the business or maybe it's a subgroup of your current meeting. But if it doesn't fit in with your agenda item and your topic, they kind of need to respect that you are going to keep it on topic. And again, it goes back to other points that we've made throughout this course. It's about professionalism. And if you're professional and you make sure that people understand that when they come to one of your meetings is going to be based on your agenda that either part or any other issues or they'll get used to the fact that maybe it's going to be something that you discuss later or as a subgroup. And they'll come prepared for that. But it doesn't stop them having their voice. It doesn't stop them having to say and what they want to do. The other thing you can do an idea quite frequently now is it's very old school, but does have some kind of flip chart paper and post it. So there's usually a flip chart and flip-chart paper hanging around him most training or meeting them to these days. And there are electronic versions of this as well. So you can have online whiteboards not going to be, but I will make sure that there's usually Post-It pads around. Yeah. Post-it sticky notes, I suppose, around on the tables with lots of pens and ask people when they have something that occurs to them. If it is related to the topic, but not actually getting you through that topic, there may be just scribble it down on a Post-It and pop it onto the flip chart. And I call that my car park or ideas park is where other things that occur to people throughout their meeting. Then going to scribble on a post-it note puppet in front of them for now. And then during the break or at a later point in, they can just pop it onto the flip chart or the whiteboard or whatever you're using. And in come back to it later. You don't have to deal with it right there. And then the other thing, as I mentioned, as well as about creating subgroups for photopic. So if somebody has a great idea and they wanted to kind of go off and do that, then fine, it may be that you create a subgroup at a later date and that becomes a set of meetings in its entirety. Simple rule of thumb around meetings is that larger meeting should look at the bigger picture. High-level topics, and then smaller groups get into the detail. So if you use that as your rule of thumb, if you're working on a project, for example, your, your larger meeting might be around the scope of the project, but then create several subgroups that look into the detail to move that project along. And when it comes to timing and keeping your agenda, think about the time we are approximate time you've allocated to a topic or an agenda item. And again, this goes back to designing your meeting. If you've got your own agenda item and and your own personal agenda in front of you. You can add timings to that or rough timings. So as I was saying, if you want 15 minutes on a topic, that's a rough 15 minutes. So it might be that is 15, 15, 20, or it could be ten. You know, if the, if the subject straight up and you've actually got your consensus, you've got your objective achieved for that particular topic item, then fantastic. If you don't it in 10 minutes, great. You've got five minutes bear, which may mean that you're meeting ends early or you've got that wiggle room later down to discuss a topic, maybe more in depth. If you reach your end time when you haven't reached a decision, then reschedule and add it to the next meeting. So again, this this works whether you have a series of meetings on an ongoing basis, on a regular basis, or whether it's a one-off. And it could be that you're if it's a one-off and you need to reschedule to actually get to that consensus and reach a decision, then you could do that virtually instead. But you've had that really good face-to-face discussion to the everybody's coming from the same place. You could then disseminate meetings and an action plan, you know, sort of rough guides. And then use that online meeting, that virtual meeting, that conference call to come to that consensus and actually galvanized people's opinion. Make them decide before that call lens. And how do you deal with things like breakaway conversations. Because with the best will in the world, they talk about making you're meeting, engaging, but not everybody is going to engage with it. Some people come with their own agenda and they're just never going to actually engage with you or that topic. But they pretty much have to be there. If I see a breakaway conversation and I'm the host or the chair, I tend to kind of just pause the main conversation because I can hear the chatter and it's kind of distracting for the people. And I'll ask them for their input on the subject. May aim isn't to embarrass anybody, but if you're going to be efficient than it needs every peaceful attention and contributions. The thing is, I said with breakaway discussions is that it can be distracting for the people who were sitting around them. So if you're in a board meeting, for example, and you've got 20 or 30 people in there. All it takes is two people to be having their own conversation and that can disrupt for, say, eight other people. And that's a large chunk of your audience. So by stopping the conversation and asking them if they've got some into input and then listening to what they say for a couple of minutes. And you're saying right? Well, actually that's a bit off topic from what we're discussing, discussing at the moment. So maybe what you need to do is if you could pop it on a post-it note for us. We'll put it into the ideas park and we'll look at it later if we've got time and if not, I'll make sure it gets included in the minute so that we can discuss it next time. That kind of thing, just do it politely. The other thing as well as I mentioned, there's a couple of times throughout this is about being authentic. It's about being yourself. So don't take on a persona as a chair or host B yourself. So if you kind of got to talk in the way that you would normally talk. But it's that fine line between doing that and then making sure that everybody else is getting a quality meeting. Hopefully this works for you. So tip a is a fairly simple, straightforward 1, which is keeping things on track and making sure that it is all about the business. So the difficulty here is trying to keep the focus and that that's what this tip is about, is bringing it back to that focus, back to the aim and objective of your meeting. Because it depends again on your audience. But if they haven't seen each other for a while and they have a prior relationship, they know each other. It can end up feeling more like social. They can end up feeling a bit more Facebook, social media type instance. This is about business. You are there to transact business. It's not a social event. Harsh as it may sound, isn't about your kids or your next holiday. There is a fine line between business and chit-chat. So it's about keeping, get lighthearted, keeping it entertaining, keeping about individuals, but bringing it back and not letting them do not let it drift off. This part is not easy. I say it's simple, but it isn't easier. Seriously, never said that it would be easy. And it's about doing that whilst being yourself and being authentic to you. Because again, you want to be the kind of host or the chair that people want to come to meetings with you. Um, but you do need to keep bringing it back to the business in hand. The big difficulty at times as well. And again, it depends on the size of your meeting, is the chance for splinter groups to form. And unless it's part of your bigger plan, and you need to control that group and bring them back and bring the focus back to whoever is speaking at that point. Because again, that moves things on. And if you've got people talking on the other side of the table, they're going to miss what's being discussed. And when he come to an action plan, they're not going to buy into it or they're not going to understand what their part in there is because they messed it all because they were talking about their dog and making sure that there are no extraneous conversations happening. So I'm not saying be completely strict about this, but you do again, need to bring it back, bring the focus back, and do it enters nice way as possible. But the problem with splinter groups is that it's distracting to you and the other people who were actually attending. The other thing you need to kind of plan for. And you might want to do this as part of your planning and designing sessions is deciding on what your decision-making process will be. So if the aim of your meeting these two commands the day with a robust action plan. How are we going to reach that? How are you going to decide on those actions and who takes those actions and what the spend might be. The end result might be. This is about agreeing your decision-making process. So whether it's going to be somebody like general consensus, which is just the feeling in the room? Or is it majority rules? You really need to kind of get robust decision-making process in place. And it could just be something as simple as show of hands. 6. Module 5: sum it up & finish on time: So for tech homodyne, we're looking at how you sum it all up and bring it to a nice conclusion. Me personally, this is a good one because it's all about going through what's been said. And it kind of reiterate what you're capturing in the minutes. And your action log reinforces and galvanizes everybody into action because it helps what you've decided to stick. And for there to be ownership because eight is eight, you're doing in a public space. So if somebody has said they'll do something, suddenly they are held accountable for it. The other thing around this is about recognizing your achievements you've made. So if you spend a short time going over what's been agreed, it does help your meeting be seen in a better light because you have made achievement, you have made agreements, you have agreed actions. It's it fosters that feeling that your meetings actually make things happen. And again, it goes back to that thing of reputation. If you do this and your meetings are engaging and well organized, then people are actually going to want to attend them because your meetings are where things happen. So linking back to what I said a little bit earlier, by simply going over all these agreed future actions and any action plans and note in a minute and agreements, you're helping it kind of become part of a person's owner ship. As I said, there, there's nothing like agreeing in public to make sure things happen. So if X and Y have agreed to do this, and it's in the minutes now, it's actually been said in public, they will not in agreement. Everybody else around that table knows that they've agreed that they will do it. If they don't deliver on it, then they will need to provide a very good reason. Why not? And at that happens, you know, we're human. Things get in the way. But there is nothing like almost like public shame to galvanize people. And again, as I mentioned earlier, something like a simple action tracker is a must. If you have ongoing meetings on a similar subject, just a simple tractor like this, bulwark. Give it what we call a Bragg grating. Rag, stands for red, amber, green. So against each action, you can kind of rate it as where it's up to. Each action is given a deadline and it's slipping, then it's red. If it's slightly over, but, you know, you could pull it back then it's amber. If it's on track, green. Once it's complete, it's complete. Really simple. All right, So final tip now and this is a biggie. Finish on time. I didn't know it sounds really simple. But keeping one eye on the time and making sure as much as you can that your agenda or instant time is paramount. During this means that you keep on track and you close down anything that might drag it out in a polite way, obviously. Shut down any extraneous conversations and make sure that you've captured any topics that people went to cover the hands on your agenda, three things that your ideas park, that kind of thing. But the aim here is to make sure that you don't overrun being prepared to schedule potentially under the meeting if you need to. And again, as I mentioned earlier, it could be that that one is online. It could be the it's an email chain. There are other ways of actually holding me things like this. What you need to be aware of is that rushing through things could mean that you're rushing through a decision and potentially either making mistakes or making the wrong decision. So if you end up feeling that this is something that needs a real robust discussion than just schedule something else. Because if the end of your meeting you haven't reached that decision, if it warrants the time, let's put it that way and don't dismiss new ideas and thoughts. And again, I've mentioned things like subgroups. So if a topic is occurred, strong topic and it's potentially related to your, your agenda anyway. Why not create subgroup? So if your agenda item is about x, y, and zed or the somebodies kind of keen to look at ABC, then find, ask volunteers to setup a subgroup occurred to discuss on, look into AB and C and then report back into your main group at a later date or on a regular basis, just have a representative there. And that way, it's not eating into your time. It's not creating longer meetings. They're doing their work and they're coming to you with all their good output. All you need to do potentially in your main group then is come to a consensus and a decision about it. What you need to do. And again, if you've done all of the other things, I think you should be in a good place. But it is about making people want to come back to your meetings and almost that reputational piece about you being efficient and professional and a good host. But at the same time, make sure that your meetings are engaging and there is a entertaining, but also practical and purposeful that they do actually get things done, but they get things done in a manner that people actually want to take part. And that's a big thing. So if you can do that urine for a winner. 7. Wrap Up: Right, so time for a quick wrap-up. Couple of pointers for me anyway to take away from this course for you. Take your time, agree and agenda format that you're comfortable with and that you can use again and again. So basically create something that's yours. There are loads online to do a quick Google search looking pinterest wherever, finds, either agenda formats or again, a meeting format for those kind of things. Dr. them, alter them, do what you need to do to make it yours and make it work for you and try a few out. It is nothing like practical experiment to see if something actually works or not. And then if it goes to the next thing is carefully consider what you want to achieve during your meeting and what can be done pre and post meeting. So rather than sit there and go through loads and loads and loads of stats in a meeting, share them ahead of time, get people to do the work for you, and then come prepared with their notes on those stats in the meeting. So you may still share them, you may still show them, but you don't have to actually go through them and analyze them because all of that analysis has been done ahead of your meeting. And again, potentially if it's just something for somebody's information, you can whisk through it and show them what it looks like and then share it with them afterwards with the minutes and the action log and that kind of thing. How do you meeting but make it engaging and productive? So I've been to meetings that are either or and nothing worse. I've been very boring, productive meetings. So I've left feeling where we achieve something but God at all to go to that again or been to others where it's been great. We had a good gossip but it would catch up. I know where they're going on holiday and or school they kinda go into and know what their pet name is. I don't actually know what we achieved in the meeting, that kind of thing. Cover a few topic. So make sure that your aim and your topic and your agenda items are covered. Make sure they don't. And if anything is left over, highlight it and make sure that it shifts to your next meeting or it's picked up in another format, like email, like virtual teleconferences, that kind of thing. And ask for feedback as well. Don't be ashamed to ask for feedback. Just get people to go. Well, yeah. Okay. Yeah, you're hosting was good, but maybe you could do this next time. Most people will have more than happy to give you some form of feedback on how you're meeting went. Especially to me if asking for feedback shows that you, you want to improve the EU conscious that nothing is ever 100 percent perfect. That everybody can improve in some way, shape or form that everybody's got space for development. So to sum it all up, I suppose it's about making your meetings Engaging, make it efficient, make it purposeful, unproductive. A productive meeting is a worthwhile meeting, but people have to want to come to them. Right? So good luck. And next up will be your project. 8. Project: Okay, So your project, very simple. I love a good form. If you've taken any of my other classes, you'll have seen that most of the projects are based around these because I love the design that people put into them. The formatting people use the individuality that comes out in them. The color schemes, the type that use, the size that you use, the shape, everything, whether you use icons, that kinda thing. So what I want you to do is taking either an agenda or minutes format. So look for a template or design your own template based on your own experience. I would warn or the other uploaded into the discussion forum. And I would like you to give me some pointers on your thinking. So if you've chosen a particularly weird and wacky way of doing an agenda, why? Tell me why, why does it work for you? Have you tried to add or is it just a theory based thing? Get lowered. And the same with minutes. If you come up with some wonderful way of doing minutes and observer thought of before. Fantastic. But tell me why, what goes behind it? And again, have you used it? And if you have what's a feedback been? So very simple. Discussion forum based again. Or you can simply e-mail me to Zhuangzi income earned at Good luck.