How to Run an Effective Strategic Meeting

Group of business people having a business meeting

Strategic meetings are usually the fuel of a good strategic planning process. Long gone are the days when such meetings were considered boring. Nowadays, they are the sum-total of good company practices. But why are strategic meetings so ineffective? This is because many managers run them by having unrealistic expectations of what the meetings should be about. Running an effective strategic meeting is not all about brain storming; instead, it is about structure that yields results.

There’s not one way to run a strategic meeting, different organizations always go for methods that have previously worked for them. However, the bottom line should be the ultimate productivity of these strategic meetings. A good manager is one who does not let the meeting drone on and on, instead he/she ensures that every minute is professionally exciting and accounts for discussions that will strategically benefit the organization in the long run.

As work meetings account for a significant amount of time, it is important to ensure that valuable hours are not wasted on the account of a strategic meeting. They can either be a productivity killer or a morale booster.

How to prepare for an effective strategic meeting

Preparation often makes the difference in a successful or failing professional situation. A strategy meeting is not an exception. These proven preparation techniques will ensure that you effectively run any strategic meeting:

  1. Ensure that you have a line manager present

A line manager is the single most important person in your strategic planning process. They are more conversant with your business, even more than the staff managers. In a strategic meeting, a line manager will play the role introducing different strategies for discussion.

  1. Get informed

Ensure that you have all the information pertaining to the strategic process. This way, you will be able to present accurate information to the members of the team and familiarize yourself with the issues that are likely to be discussed.

  1. Choose consecutive days for your strategy meetings

Maintaining momentum is vital in any strategic process. When meeting with other team members, communicate the possibility of another meeting for the next two days in order to have an ongoing schedule and to be practical and keep reflective thinking at bay.

  1. Set a commencement time and end time

This will enable those in attendance to be aware of the length of the meeting. More so, setting time before the actual meeting will make many members available to discuss impending issues as compared to impromptu meetings that may find some of them already committed to other organizational tasks.

Strategically tailored meetings are known for gathering the best pool of ideas. Strategic meetings are a sure way to plan for the future. Apart from conveying information fluidly, here are more ways to ensure that your strategy, meetings are more effective:

  • Stick to the schedule

Agendas are important because they outline everything that meetings are meant to cover. Always make sure that you stick to the schedule in terms of time as this will make things quicker and everyone focused.

  • Clarify your objectives

Every strategy meeting should have a defined purpose. Let everyone know what you seek to accomplish and the input that you are looking for beforehand. Commonly if people know that they cannot contribute to what is being discussed, they will not waste your time at the meeting.

  • Have a ‘ no technology’ rule

It is unprofessional for members of your strategy team to be on their phones while you are busy conducting the meeting. Therefore, to avoid any such instances, there should be no form of technology devices that should be brought to the room. Even minutes should be hand-written in order to avoid any destruction.

  • Be action-oriented

Before the meeting, ensure that everyone prepares well by letting them know the subjects of discussion. Thus, they can come up with many problem solving ideas that they will quickly present come the actual meeting day. This avoids wasting time on both ends.

  • Consider those who are invited

Strategic meetings are not meant for everyone. Therefore, it is important to only invite those who really need to be present at the meeting. Invite only the affected people who will be able to contribute to the meeting positively.

  • Have refreshments for longer meetings

Everyone often prefers a short and straight forward meeting. However, there are times when strategic meetings are longer than expected. In this case, refreshments will fuel the session. Those involved will not have an excuse to leave the meeting due to the fact that they want to go on a lunch or coffee break. If there is not much to be discussed, it’s best to keep the meeting brief.

  • Always maintain focus

The basis of a strategic meeting should be what the company wants to achieve, how it will achieve it and the resources needed for goal achievement. Do not stray away from these focal points when running a strategic meeting. Mixing up ideas will make all the members of the meeting lose focus.

  • Make the meeting interesting

The use of visual aids makes a strategic meeting more interesting and easy to understand. The subject of discussion is set to resonate more with those in attendance if you show as well as talk about the strategy.

  • Involve everyone in the meeting

A strategic meeting that consists of everyone’s contributions is much livelier than that one which only allows the contribution of specific people. Involving everyone means that you will get all their opinions and ideas as the meeting progresses; this will certainly keep everyone engaged.

Finally, it’s of importance to follow up after the meeting. It’s common for those in attendance to have different interpretations of the meeting after it is over. To effectively follow-up, you may email those who attended and explain to them what was accomplished in the meeting. This way, everyone will be on the same page the next time you meet.

With these tips and tricks, you are well on your way to running the most successful strategic meeting.

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