Whether you’re the top of the professional food chain or an employee running your first meeting, it’s important to own the meeting. This will let everyone knows who’s in charge and who they can turn to with questions or problems.
Here are 25 ways you can own any meeting and be a better leader for your team.
1. Have an agenda prepared. It’s good to have the meeting outlined so you know whether or not you’re staying on track.
2. Focus on the goals. Don’t concentrate on the budget. Budgetary concerns may hinder your decision making and prevent you from considering great ideas.
3. Do your research. The more you know about the issue at hand, the more your team will respect you as a leader.
4. Establish a clear objective. This will help your team understand what’s to come in the meeting.
5. Start the meeting off friendly. Sharing something personal before you get down to business lets your team know you value them as people, not just as employees.
6. Address the most difficult challenges first. This way, you can get those out of the way and make your meeting as productive as possible.
7. Project confidence. Confidence is an important part of being respected as a leader.
8. Read your team’s body language. If they’re bored or unengaged, know what action to take to fix that.
9. Encourage healthy debate. Healthy debate results in new ideas and progress.
10. Anticipate disagreement. Know how to rein in the conversation when it gets too heated.
11. Foster a creative environment. Out-of-the box thinking is important for coming up with ways to solve problems and grow your company.
12. Brainstorm. Host a brainstorming session to get ideas flowing among the team.
13. Stay open-minded. Don’t be too strict or overbearing. This can hinder creativity and prevent your team from bringing forward ideas.
14. Practice humility. Don’t set the tone that you’re the only one who can speak or propose ideas during the meeting.
15. Keep the conversation on track. It can be easy for a group of people to go off on tangents. Know when and how to steer the conversation back to the matter at hand.
16. Be passionate about the issue at hand. Doing so will inspire your team to help you solve any problem that needs to be solved.
17. Take notes. Or get someone do it for you — so that you have a record of ideas, decisions and actions items.
18. Be positive about the meeting. Don’t go in expecting to be disappointed about the outcome. Maintaining a positive outlook will set the tone for the meeting and make it a productive one.
19. Don’t expect a final decision. As long as you have actionable takeaways, the meeting was a success.
20. Respect your team’s time. Keep an eye on the clock and use verbal cues like “I know we only have a few minutes left” to indicate you respect their time and would like to wrap up the meeting.
21. Challenge your team. Encouraging them to take on new projects and learn new skills will show you have confidence in their abilities and value them as a part of the company.
22. Summarize agreed actions. Ensure everyone knows what was agreed upon so nobody’s surprised down the road.
23. Be helpful. Make sure your team knows they can come to you for help with completing any task or goal.
24. End with next steps. Make sure everyone knows what is expected of them when they leave the meeting.
25. Be grateful. Thank your team for their time and contribution to the meeting. That will ensure they feel valued and know you appreciate their hard work.
Running a successful, productive meeting can be difficult. But with a little practice and by following these tips, you’ll be a well-oiled meeting machine in no time at all.
This was originally published on Inc.com.