Submitted by rsjacque on
I need to manage a meeting that includes 2 CEOs on Monday and am looking for some advice. This is a customer meeting with a handful of executives on each side. What is the protocol for introductions? Any other advice?
Tell us a little more:
What do they (the CEOs) expect their role to be in the meeting? Observers? Participants? Presenters?
When you say "a handful of executives on each side" - on each side of WHAT? The room? An issue? Is is a multi-company meeting with customers?
Finally, what do the customers expect to get out of the meeting?
Should be interesting
CEOs are used to running meetings, so don't expect to control much of anything.
Your best bet is to kick off the meeting, setting the goals and ensuring that everyone has been introduced. After that, you'll be more of a facilitator, helping ensure that key issues have been discussed, decisions documented, and action items clearly identified.
What you probably can't do is force issues or hold tight to an agenda (unless the CEO's have explicitly agreed to this, and even then...)
As for intros, if most folks don't know each other, you might consider having folks introduce themselves. More likely is that everyone will introduce themselves to each other before the meeting gets underway, so you should plan to leave the first few minutes for these more informal intros (as most executives will make sure to introduce themselves to everyone else when they come in, so you won't need to go around the room).
Thanks for the feedback - it's very helpful.
The CEOs will each present, plus they'll be actively participating (leading?) the dialogue after the presentations. The meeting is a customer - supplier meeting, hence the reference to "each side". Both parties expect to refresh the relationship since there has been some management turnover on both sides. This will likely include setting the stage for how to make progress on some issues where we've been stuck for a few years. I am new to the team, but am expected to lead / facilitate the meeting like a key customer manager would....but I'm new to this type of meeting. Thanks for any advice you may have.
Your CEO is key
Thanks for the clarification.
You should try to get your CEO to handle the introductions: s/he can ensure that everyone "introduces" themselves by setting an example and doing so him/herself, and then asking others to do so.
From there, you can guide the meeting, letting the various executives do their thing.
Objective: understanding the issues
Sounds like a great meeting. Good luck!
If I were facilitating, I think I'd focus the efforts on airing and understanding the issues that you've been stuck on for a few years. I would not be trying to *solve* anything.
If I walked away feeling that the new players got to know one another a bit, that we aired the issues that have been difficult to solve in the past, that we agreed on the priorities of which to tackle, and that we outlined some initial next steps (with deadlines and report-backs), I'd feel like we had a great session.
(Here's the hidden dynamic working in your favor: new leaders LOVE to solve problems that vexed their predecessors, and often have the political capital to do so early on).