How did your last meeting go? If you were running your monthly staff meeting or an update meeting on how a key project is going, were people looking at their phones instead of you? Have people been giving lame excuses for why they can’t attend your regular meeting? If your performance hasn’t exactly been stellar, check out the advice from Kevin O’Quinn on how to run a meeting that will improve your reputation in the organization.

Be Informed

As a manager, you’re expected to be one step ahead of the team members in your group. Before you gather everyone to discuss any topic, spend time getting up to date on the details. For example, if the group is in danger of missing a key deadline on a deliverable, find out why. Call vendors or business partners to determine the specific causes or problems in the pipeline. Then, conduct your meeting with confidence. You know exactly what the problem is. There’s no need to let group members badmouth partners or vendors. Instead of allowing folks to vent for too long, encourage your team members to work toward a solution.

Use Talking Points

Your team members want to come out of a meeting with something – an understanding of a new service or a list of action items they need to take care of. All too often, the big talkers can easily hijack your agenda. Before you know it, the group is talking about last night’s game or their weekend plans. There’s nothing wrong with a little chitchat at the start of a meeting. After a few minutes, remind the group it’s time to get down to business. If you want to give your team members an idea of what you plan to cover, prepare and distribute an agenda. This strategy allows you to move the discussion along, making sure you get to each point you want to cover.

Be Part of the Group

Nothing irks employees more than a pompous manager who holds herself apart from everyone else. If you come into a meeting assuming you know best, your employees will quickly pick up on your superior attitude. Before long, they’ll be talking behind your back, waiting for you to take a fall. Your attitude during a meeting can boost your standing in your department and your company.

O’Quinn also  cautions against using corporate jargon. You might think using these phrases makes you look like an expert, but if nobody understands what you’re talking about, you’ve got a problem. Any assignments you make might not get done. Even worse, your team members might resent you.

On the other hand, if you speak clearly and concisely, employees will understand what you’re saying. Behave like you’re one of the group by using phrases that suggest you are all in the situation together and are working together to achieve a goal. If you don’t know the answer to a question, don’t guess. By telling the truth, you’re showing authenticity – a trait that employees value.

Read the rest of O’Quinn’s suggestions and decide for yourself which practices can help you improve your meetings.