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A well-run meeting is a happy meeting, encouraging collaboration of ideas

Most of us have been there, sitting in a meeting feeling like we’re not being listened to. Or what about those fraught meetings, with arguments, upset and anger? Well, it doesn’t have to be that way, according to Nick Gold, MD at Speakers Corner.

He told M&IT about his top tips for ensuring all voices are heard during meetings – and how to encourage collaboration of ideas without attendees clashing.

According to Gold, the success of any meeting is critically dependent on the right people being in the room.

“Each person should bring something to the table which contributes to a successful outcome for the meeting,” he says. “Once this requirement is achieved, the next step must be to make sure every voice around the table has equal recognition and opportunity.

“Whether there is a formal leader to the meeting (or someone has assumed that role), they act as the glue that holds the team together, guiding the agenda so that all voices and opinions are considered. Initial introductions, while corny and trite sometimes, can at the very least, establish a professional connection.

Depending on what the aims of the meeting are, it can be a good idea to encourage personal connections early on, says Gold. Especially for meetings that kick off a project.

“The leader of the meeting should act as a conduit to everyone having equal opportunity to speak, not allowing domination of a single or a few voices,” he says.

Happy ending?

We all love a happy ending, but that doesn’t necessarily apply to what happens at the end of the meeting, says Gold.

“A successful conclusion doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone leaves the meeting in agreement,” he reveals. “What it does mean, is that all involved understand the rationale or logic behind the decision. They appreciate their views were discussed and even if they were not incorporated into the final decision, this was due to a thought process that everyone contributed to.”

Finally, for a meeting to be truly worthwhile, Gold says it has to hit those involved in the heart as well as the head.

“A successful meeting should retain an emotional attachment in the attendees; despite the outcome they should have a remaining passion and care about the idea,” he says. “If this is lost, the meeting has failed.

“It is critical this is laid out upfront meetings where conflict or differences in opinion are likely. In doing so, the groundwork is laid for a robust and progressive meeting. Moving forward, such etiquette can appreciate differences and encourage creativity, whilst always prioritising professionalism and clarity of thought.”