Every meeting is a laboratory where you can observe and learn important things
about the people who attend. In fact, you can use meetings to identify people who
merit being promoted into leadership positions. Watch for:
Is it planned?
Effective leaders always begin with clearly defined goals and then prepare plans for
achieving them. They have the courage to set a direction and then make changes as
new information becomes available. They communicate with candor knowing that
people perform at their best when they know what is expected. Thus, did the person
who called this meeting prepare an agenda? Was the agenda distributed before the
meeting? Did the agenda tell you everything that you needed to know to work
effectively in the meeting? If so, this serves as a positive indication of effective
Is it efficient?
A meeting is the culminating step in a larger process. It begins by setting goals and
preparing an agenda. Then the chairperson should have contacted key participants
to inform them of their roles in the meeting, told everyone how to prepare for the
meeting, and alerted people who may be asked to accept responsibility for action
items. All of this work before the meeting assures that the meeting will progress
smoothly, efficiently, and effectively. So, how is the meeting going? Is there evidence
of this attention to detail?
Is it logical?
Pay attention to what people say during a meeting. Do their ideas contribute toward
achieving the goals? if so, this shows that they're working as part of a team to help
find solutions. Do their ideas build upon what others just said? If so, this shows that
they're paying attention to the dialogue. Do their ideas demonstrate originality,
creativity, and knowledge? If so, this shows they're working hard to add value.
Effective leaders possess strong analytical thinking skills.
Is it helpful?
Evaluate the comments and behavior during a meeting. Are the participants working
to support each other? Are people contributing to the safe environment that is
essential for open creative thinking? Are people adding high-value contributions
(instead of stories or jokes that distract everyone)? Note that chronic unproductive
behavior betrays either fear, a lack of effective work skills, or misunderstood
expectations. People who perform poorly in meetings may need constructive
Is it controlled?
Leadership involves more than watching people talk. Thus, observe the dynamics of
the meeting process. Is the chairperson leading everybody through methodical steps
that take them to a result? Is the meeting being conducted in such a way that the
participants feel that it is a fair process? Is the chairperson helping others perform
at their best so that the group can produce an outstanding result?
Someone who excels in the above areas should be considered for leadership
positions. This explains why most executives consider a person's ability to lead
meetings when selecting future leaders.
IAF Certified Professional Facilitator and author Steve Kaye works with leaders who
want to hold effective meeting. His innovative workshops have informed and
inspired people nationwide. His facilitation produces results that people will
support. Call 714-528-1300 or visit his web site for over 100 pages of valuable
ideas. Sign up for his free newsletter at http://www.stevekaye.com