Unsurprisingly, we all hate meetings. Don’t we?
There are so many different styles of meeting we attend out there. We have board meeting, client meetings, team meetings, informational meeting, brainstorming meetings……........... and the list goes on and on.
The fact remains, there are endless meetings to discuss future meetings. Few of them seem to go on forever, but nothing ever really gets decided. At some point or another we often encounter ourselves wandering after a while when the meeting is unproductive, pointless and big waste of time.
However meetings can be productive and fruitful if they are executed properly. It is in the meetings where future of companies is predicted, business tactics are analysed, competitors are targeted and strategies are planned.
Here are the ways to keep your sanity and start hosting meetings that are engaging, boost productivity and drive innovation.
BEFORE THE MEETING
“Don’t hold unnecessary meetings”
Call a meeting only if it is necessary. Have a specific reason and invite the key players only. If it is possible to be communicated through circulated memo, group email, individual conversation there is no point in holding a meeting.
“Advance the Agenda”
Meeting should not be soulless. Define a clear agenda and circulate it to all the attendees so that everyone can come prepared and you can keep meeting on track. Dont forget to include any materials/document attendees need to read or bring.
Consider the information that must be covered, then allocate appropriate amount of time, and email it to attendees in advance.
DURING THE MEETING
“Stick to Alloted Time”
Start the meeting on time, and more importantly, end it on time. Out of respect for the commitment of everyone who attends, meeting should be on time and never run over the time alloted. Meeting should fully cover all the points on the agenda within the timeframe.
“Keep the Ground Rules Close by.”
The common ground rules for any type of meeting are:
- Turn off cell phones or keep its volume at minimum.
- Send a substitute if you cannot attend.
- Arrive on time.
- Note down the key details
"Stay Focused on Topic and Encourage Participation"
The most difficult aspects of facilitating a meeting is keeping everyone on track. Often people tends to go off on a tangent or tell irrelevant stories. Politely but firmly steer the meeting back to the right terrian to keep it focused and action oriented. The key to successful meeting lies in communication. Get all the possible ideas and feedback on the table. Ask open ended questions and try to make meetings participatory.
“End with Action Plan”
Make sure everyone in the meeting is on the same page. Wrap up meetings with a clear statement of the next steps, what needs to be done and who is going to do it. There should be an announcement of the action plan from the discussion, at the end of the meeting.
AFTER THE MEETING
“Distribute minutes and archive documents”
Email a minute to all attendees promptly highlighting conclusion the group reached, commitment people made, and what future action the group will take. Document the responsibilities given, tasks delegated, and any assigned deadlines.
“Check on Action”
People often need a gentle reminder. You have to followup the progress closely and consistently. A proper minutes- with clear agreement, actions and time frames - make this much easier.
Make meetings matter. For a meeting to run better they need structure and order. Without these elements they can go on forever and not accomplish a thing.