The Most Important Steps to Running a Successful Department Meeting

To run a successful department meeting, you need to follow two simple components. But they can be tricky because people ...

To run a successful department meeting, you need to follow two simple components. But they can be tricky because people regularly bypass these two components, making it hard to keep meetings on track and engaging for the audience. Here are the two steps you need to follow to run your department meetings more successfully. 

The first step is you need to have an agenda, and I like to call it a “why are we having this meeting?”  You want to make sure that the participants understand why they're coming to the meeting. It also ensures you're not going to waste people's time by straying off-topic. It gives participants the proper time to bring tools, support materials, or questions to the table. 

If you're unclear on setting your agenda, the easiest thing to do is a SWOT analysis. Ask yourself what my department’s strengths are? What are our weaknesses? Are there any opportunities that are coming our way? What threats do we have that potentially could derail us from running our department the way we need to run it? The agenda will help get things moving in the right direction, and as you get better at it, you can personalize and customize your SWOT based on your team's needs.

The second step is a schedule. When are we going to have this meeting? To be a good leader, you need to understand how to manage your time and respect other people’s time, especially those coming to your meetings, because everybody has things they need to get done. If you're constantly moving your meeting around or canceling, eventually, people are going to say, “Why are we even having this meeting? It can’t be that important because our leader continually changes or cancels it. They don’t care about getting these issues resolved or having this meeting.”

Stick to a fixed time and don't change it. EVER. You can cancel in an emergency but try your best not to reschedule.

It's imperative that you follow these two steps and don’t waiver, as you take on the responsibility of running or hosting meetings.  Have a great theme, aka agenda, and stick to it! If you're not clear on how to build a robust agenda, create a SWOT. Lastly and most importantly, do not reschedule or cancel. The moment you start to do that, you're going to notice it's easier and easier for you to reschedule or cancel meetings. Rescheduling or canceling makes it easy for your participants not to show up for future meetings because they recognize that even you don't take them seriously.

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