10 Tips to Keep Your Meeting on Track

Meetings are nowadays done most of the time online, using tools like Microsoft Teams or Zoom, it has changed the way to conduct a meeting due to the possibility to have more meetings in a row or use interactive tools during the meeting (e.g., dashboard, screen sharing). For example, in an online meeting, the delay is no more accepted, a delay of 5 minutes in a virtual meeting stands for a 15 minutes delay in a de visu meeting, another important thing in the virtual meeting is to keep high the focus of the participants because being at home with different devices in the hands could be distractive. So, how can we keep the meeting on track? Below are 10 useful tips:

  1. Use the Agenda as a Roadmap: the agenda of a meeting is an important starting point to focus in mind all the topics of the meeting and to take into consideration the time available
  2. Provide the purpose: at the start of the meeting, share the meeting’s purpose — what needs to be decided. Stating a clear purpose will help to ensure that it gets met by the end
  3. Guide your listeners: kick of meeting breaking the ice and opening with comments that introduce the topics of the meeting
  4. Be ready to listen: for a meeting leader listening and appearing to listen are essential values because the dialogue is fundamental to keep the focus in the meeting. Looking at the camera, nodding, and reflecting questions back to the speaker are simple tips that can help the dialogue in the meeting.
  5. Prepare questions: having questions ready is important to fill the meeting gaps and silence if the attendees are not active or they are slow to ask questions or break the ice
  6. Keep detours brief: if you or someone else introduce a tangential argument, try to get in and out quickly of that because discussing something unrelated is a waste of time and concentration
  7. Know when you have finished your point: don’t keep talking thinking that that people have not understood your point, move the meeting forward if people have questions they will ask
  8. Give concise credit: don’t be too long sharing points of praise because it could become embarrassing but remember to argue the thanks by adding some words besides the simple “thank you”
  9. Help others stay on point: ask questions like “What do you recommend?” or “What do you propose we do?” during the presentation to give substance to the thoughts and idea
  10. End with a meaningful action step: end the meeting with clear next steps, including the ownership and the timing of each activity

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