Make Your Meetings More Effective
Meetings have a bit of a bad reputation. If you’ve attended your share of disorganized or ineffective meetings then you may see them as a waste of time. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Meetings should and can still be one of your most powerful tools for collaborating and getting things done.
Here are some great tips for getting the most out of your meetings:
Determine Your Objectives
You can do this by asking yourself a few simple questions. Here they are:
1. What are the goals of your meeting? What are the clear cut objectives that you want everyone to walk away with?
2. Who actually needs to be at this meeting to accomplish the goals you have in mind? A good rule of thumb; the less chefs in the proverbial kitchen, the better. Bring only the key people required to the meeting.
3. How much time do you really need to discuss and clarify these objectives, or put them into motion? If you structure things efficiently and have a clear agenda in place, you may need less time than you think.
Establish Ground Rules
Every meeting should have firmly established ground rules.
Stipulate whether or not things like snacks or coffee are allowed, and require that all cell phones and tablets or computers be put away unless they are strictly being used for the purposes of the meeting at hand.
Attendees should have their attention focused entirely on the meeting objectives, not split between the meeting topics and other tasks they may be working on elsewhere. The meeting is also clearly not a social hour. Limit chit-chat in the meeting by keeping the agenda as the focus and redirecting the group back to the agenda when chatter starts.
Stay On Time and On Task
Respect everyone’s time as well as your own by being punctual and demanding punctuality from your attendees. That means both starting on time and ending on time are equally important.
Create a public agenda for the meeting, and don’t deviate. If sideline issues pop up, take these offline or plan another meeting to tackle these separate issues.
If you happen to have late comers mosey in, don’t fall into the trap of recapping for them. They are adults and will have to get themselves up to speed on their own time. Stick to your outlined agenda, and focus on the most important items first.
Have Someone Document the Meeting
Designate someone to summarize meeting objectives that are discussed, resolved, assigned, or otherwise addressed.
The documentation should include all pertinent who, what, where, when and why’s the meeting covered.
Share the minutes with everyone who attended the meeting so that no one forgets who was assigned to what, etc. If any follow-up meetings are required, these notes will make it easier to streamline those sessions in advance.
Review Important Action Items
At the end of every meeting, you should always review any important action items that have been assigned. This is where your note taker comes in handy.
They can riff from the summary of meeting objectives, and quickly recap who has been assigned to what, where, and when, so that everyone leaves with their assigned duties fresh in mind.
Make sure you clarify your expectations on due dates and the format of any expected deliverables. (ie: you expect a phone call on this date, or a written report on your desk by this date, etc.)
Harness the Power of Technology
There are a ton of tools available to help you plan and execute meetings well. How about a mobile app that will do the grunt work for you by scheduling a meeting around others schedules? Does that sound about as good as a massage right now?What about a tool that actually helps organize the meeting and then keeps you on track throughout?
Here’s a link to view some different mobile apps that may help you out.
Ultimately, every good meeting achieves its desired purpose or moves you closer to a desired outcome.
When a meeting is structured and managed well, with the time of everyone used wisely, attendees walk away feeling accomplished and productive. That’s not only good for business morale it’s also just good business.
Have any questions or comments? Want to share a story with us?