IE Business School Online Masters
blended.team
October 17, 2011

 

fritz9How you facilitate meetings can make a big difference on the quality of the discussions and the ultimate outcome you are to achieve.  This Six P’s will help you lead more successful meetings in the future.

1. Preparation
As in everything in life, you do a better job on anything if you do the preparation; and the same is true if you are going to lead a meeting.  There are two key actions to do in this preparation.  1) Get very clear on the outcome you want to drive in the meeting and remember to state it up front at the start of the meeting.  2) Meet some of the key participants prior to the meeting.  Especially with a meeting discussing a very emotive topic, you want to meet some of the key people beforehand and really understand their position. Understanding the position of key participants helps you to control the actual meeting much more effectively.

2. Performance
How you act in the meeting can really set the atmosphere for it.  If you speak with energy and passion, the people in the room will pick up on that and speak with energy and passion.  Very often, the people in the meeting will feed off the energy and attitude of the leader.  Therefore, as the leader, always bring in the most energy and drive into each meeting; and leave any negativity or tiredness at the door.

3. Paraphrase
People express their thoughts in different ways, and sometimes in ways that are not as meaningful to others.  When this happens, you can help others to understand better by paraphrasing what was said in a different way.  Keeping the discussions moving forward is key for meetings, and paraphrasing is one of the best ways to accomplish this.  Also, you can paraphrase negative comments of some participants into a much more constructive and productive way.  In fact, paraphrasing negative comments can be one of the most important skills to help keep the discussions moving forward and not letting a particular negative comment destroy what was a good discussion.

4. Prompt
Many times you will lead meetings where you know some of the people really have some good ideas to share, but just don’t speak up.  As the leader, you can pick them and ask if they have any ideas they would like to share.  Also, if you did your preparation and spoke to them prior to the meeting, you can then say to them “John, remember you had this idea when we talked this past week – could you share that with the others”.  The problem is never that there are not enough good ideas in the room, but that people don’t always share them.  Prompting gets more information out of everyone that could be useful for getting a better outcome from the meeting.

5. Pre-empt
Now, the next P is the opposite of prompting.  Here you want to pre-empt some possible negative comments from someone in the meeting. Again, if you have done your preparation, you would have talked to the people who you thought might be negative in the meeting.  When they begin to express their negative thoughts, you then “pre-empt” them by saying “yes John, when we met this past week you said that…..”.  This gives you a way to share what John wanted to say, but in a much less confrontational way.  However, remember that to pre-empt someone in a polite way you must have talked to the meeting where they expressed that thought.

6. Position
Where you stand in the room and how you move around the room can either help or hinder the conversations.  If you are in the middle and constantly moving around to help drive the conversation, you are then really controlling it as well.  Sometimes you need to back away in a corner if the conversations are being productive and don’t really need your help.  Also, there’s a great way to control people who are speaking too much.  Why don’t you just stand in front of them for a few minutes and you take them out of the conversation quite naturally.  That’s not something you want to do often, but there always comes the times when someone is just being too disruptive.

Remember these six P’s for the next time you need to lead a meeting, and you will drive it to a much more successful outcome.

PreparationPerformanceParaphrasePromptPre-emptPosition

 


4 Comments

Mark, great composition of P’s. Very helpful way of remembering what we have to do. Often these rules come naturally but not always especially when we are not at the peak of our game. Great guideline.

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