I have been facilitating Time Management Training Courses for a number of years and time and time again I am asked, how do you facilitate meetings successfully? It appears that the old saying of ‘meetings are where minutes are taken and hours are wasted’ still holds true in many organisations.

Meetings are essential in most organisations and meetings can be highly productive if they are facilitated and managed correctly. However poorly facilitated meetings will definitely impact on your time management and the Time Management of others.

I would like to share with you the acronym that I developed for helping people to remember the key areas involved in effective meetings. I use this acronym in all of our time management training courses and also in many of our management training courses.

Such is the success of this acronym that many people who have attended our time management training have emailed me and said they have placed the acronym on the wall of the meeting room or notice board etc as a reminder.

I hope using the acronym will also help you, the acronym is WASP STING. I use this as it reminds me of a poorly facilitated meeting; the sting is painful, lasts for hours and often has bad side effects—no different than a poorly facilitated meeting.

So what is WASP STING?

W is for WHO.....

A is for AENDA.....

S is for SCRIBE.....

P is for PURPOSE.....

S is for SUMMARISE.....

T is for TANGENT.....

I is for INCLUSION.....

N is for NEXT.....

G is for GOAL.......

WHO should attend the meeting, always remember the only members of a meeting are those who can seriously contribute to the meeting or have a very serious need to know what is happening due to the impact of them or others. Never be afraid to invite people who need to know for only the section they need to know about and then let them go.

Having people in a room that do not need to be there is a serious waste of resource and shows ineffective Time Management and facilitation of meetings skill

AGENDA, this is a bare minimum and we probably all know we need an agenda, but do we send the agenda out in plenty of time and do we also ask people to see if any of the agenda items can be dealt with prior to the meeting, so as the meeting is only a sign off for that item, example of this would be previous minutes, monthly reports etc.

The biggest mistake people make with agendas is they fail to time the agenda items—each agenda item should have a start time and finish time.

SCRIBE, some one should be nominated to take the minutes. Effective minute taking is an art in itself, a good minute taker should be able to summarise the salient points of the meeting to the group at the end of the meeting so as to avoid any discrepancies

PURPOSE, why are you calling a meeting? is there any other way sharing the information or getting the decisions made? If you can not write down the purpose clearly in less than 4 lines think again.

SUMMARISE, at the end of each agenda item you must summarise to ensure that everyone is aware of the decision or to ensure who does what by when etc

TANGENT, we believe on our Time Management Training Courses this is probably one of the most under rated killers of effective time management. How many meetings have you attended where the meeting goes off track for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 30 minutes etc
Some meetings never get back on track and even have to be revisited. The key to this is to nominate some one in the group to raise their hand if the meeting is going off on a tangent.
In our time management courses we name this role the ‘track Master” and the function is to keep the meeting on track—it is a role that very few facilitators delegate but a role that should be delegated at each meeting it save bundles of time

INCLUSION, If you have chosen the right people to be at the meeting there is little point having them there unless they can add to the meeting or bring something to the table. To effectively facilitate a meeting you must include all.

NEXT, you need to summarise what are the next steps at the end of the meeting, what happens now? What are the action points that people have to do, remember a meeting with no action points is only a conversation

GOALS, I would have loved to have had this as one of the first part of the acronym but unfortunately this was the only place I could put it for WASP STING. Goals are vital for any meeting, what are you trying to achieve. If you don’t have clear goals at a meeting the meeting will not work. You need goals to keep focus and remember the goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time framed)

As we say on our Time Management Training Courses all that is left now is for you to take the sting out of your meetings and put the buzz back into them.

Author's Bio: 

Frank O’Toole from www.premiertraining.co.uk is an expert with real life, practical experience of empowering and developing sales personel . Through hard work and determination Frank has established his name and his company. To learn more about the a Training courses that are provided by www.premiertrainingcourses.co.uk then please contact us.