How to lead a meeting successfully

You have been called for a meeting. And as you take your seat, members nominate you as the Chair for the day. Where do you start and how do you start

This is exactly what happened to me sometimes 15 years ago. I was invited at short notice, to attend a client meeting to commence a due diligence assignment to inform the decision to invest in the company. Twenty minutes later, the substantive chairman has not yet arrived. That is when members agreed that we start and nominated me as Chair.

Where do you start? I grabbed the opportunity. By luck, I recalled that every meeting needs an agenda – a list of items to inform the discussion. So, I said, “Thanks for trusting me with this role. So, who has the agenda for the meeting.”

It was silence. “Ok, then. Let’s agree on the agenda for this meeting. We start with

(i)Introduction, (ii) Communication from the Chairman and Reactions to the communication, (iii) Presetnation of our approach and key documents required and (iv) Next steps.

Many meetings start with “Prayer” as the first agenda item. It depends on the members. I recommend that you start with that item. With an agenda, everyone can chair a meeting.

All you have to do is to stick to the agenda and allow members adequate airtime to add value to the meeting. And I did it. You too can do it.

Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2019. All rights reserved.

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