Working as a technical evangelist, I have the opportunity to participate in a LOT of meetings. I have learned a few tips and tricks that have proven valuable for me and thought you may find them helpful as well.
Be Creative – Meetings always start at 9:00am and run for an hour. Why? I start all of my meetings at off times now. 10:02 seems like a good meeting time. I also rarely need to talk for more than an hour when I am on the phone. so I limit these types of meetings to a shorter time frame. Face to Face meetings are different so I leave myself plenty of time for Q&A. Everyone has to eat, right? Why not back your meeting up against lunch. That way you are the hero when you wrap and say to the attendees, “Who wants to grab a bite at Steak and Shake!?”
Be on point – Know what you want out of the meeting before you walk it. Don’t just meet for the sake of meeting. Clearly outline what those goals are in the agenda of the meeting. That way everyone comes to the table ready to dive right in. Be willing to table the random stuff that comes up in a meeting to keep things flowing. You can always have a one-off down the hall afterwards to address those questions, or build a followup meeting from those action items. Keep your attendees engaged. See “Be Creative” above so you aren’t boring them to death, but also command the room. It never fails that a “second meeting” will erupt in the back corner. It will get louder and louder. Don’t let it. Bring those people back into the conversation or ask them to step out. No need to be nasty, but you have things to do and so does everyone else
Be reflective – Before you leave, ask how it went. It’s amazing how much great feedback you can get relevant to the meeting itself, but also about your ability to conduct that meeting. Did we get what we needed from this? Was it too long? Too Short? Too many slides? Not enough whiteboard? Being humble and asking for feedback puts your attendees at ease. Perfect time to make everyone feel comfortable since you are creating that last impression.
There are plenty more great tips for great meetings, but don’t over think it and go with your gut.