Meetings are a vital part of a business, both to get every day things done as well as to help the organisation progress. However, meetings are not always as effective and efficient as we’d like them to be. So how do we improve our meetings?
The better that you’re prepared, the better the results will be. Look at meetings as work, not a break from work.
Make sure that only the people who need to be there are. Participants who don’t understand the point of their presence will not be engaged in the conversation or the outcome.
Create an Agenda
If you’re leading a meeting, then you should create an agenda so you remember everything that you want to cover. If you’re attending a meeting, then an agenda will help you understand what you need to prepare for. Attendees will therefore be ready to engage with the meeting when they arrive.
Your agenda should include the key points of the meeting, who will lead the discussions, how long each point will take, and mostly importantly, why the meeting is taking place.
Stick to the Schedule
Start on time, and end on time and you’ll find that you don’t have grumpy participants. Announce the length of the meeting and stick to it.
Meetings can easily get off track, and as a result, they are often a waste of time. Everyone involved in the meeting must contribute to keeping the meeting on track. Whenever the meeting drifts off track, speak up and push it back on course.
If your meeting is a long one, then make sure you schedule breaks in. People cannot concentrate for long periods of time, so time to eat and drink is important. It’ll help your participants come back refreshed and ready to concentrate.
Keep a Record and Assign Actions
In a meeting you are making decisions and assigning actions for the future. However, participants of a meeting can interpret things differently and, often, forget what they volunteered to do. Assign someone as record keeper, and make sure notes and actions are distributed afterwards. This will help convert your meeting to “doing”. Print your minutes and actions as soon as possible after your meeting so people know what they have to do, and there’s as little room for misunderstanding as possible.