Meetings are an important part of any establishment. Decisions are made, accountabilities are established and there's a general sense of purpose. Unfortunately, too many meetings don't go well. Meetings that drones on and on, people are fiddling with their phones or people are confused as to why they are in the meeting at all.
Running effective meetings can be challenging if certain things aren't taken into consideration, but there are ways to conduct efficient meetings that won't waste anyone's time. Here are 7 steps to running productive meetings.
Is the meeting really necessary?
The first step is to ask yourself if holding a physical meeting is important. Some issues can be resolved quickly via phone call or email. If you can sort out the problem over the phone, there's no need to waste everyone's time by calling up a meeting.
Have a clear objective
If you decide that it is important to have a meeting, you must have a specific and defined purpose. What do you hope to accomplish from this meeting?
Nothing is more annoying than a meeting that has no clear purpose. Know what result is desired from the start and communicate it at every opportunity
Invite only the people that need to be there
People should only be invited to the meeting if they are needed. Will they have important input? Are they involved in decision-making? Take out the time to think about who really needs to be at the meeting. Having a clear objective, as stated above, will help.
No connected devices
Ensure no phones or Internet connected devices are allowed in the meeting room. Phone calls, emails and messages will extend the length of your meeting and cause distractions.
Create an agenda and stick to it
Set up an agenda for your meeting that lays out everything you plan to discuss in the meeting. Make your agenda as specific as possible, devote a certain number of minutes to each item. Distribute the agenda to everyone who is attending the meeting beforehand and make sure you stick to the agenda.
Start on time and end on time
It is important that meetings start on time and do not overrun. When you start a meeting late, you encourage tardiness. Meetings that start late will finish late and eat into time meant for other productive activities. If you cannot finish your meeting on time, you should schedule another
Appoint someone to take minutes, even if the meeting has only two participants. Detailed notes are unnecessary and time consuming. Instead, write out key decisions and action items. This is important for future reference.
It’s important to follow up immediately after every meeting. Thank everyone for their time. Ensure that everyone who attended the meeting gets a memo highlighting what was accomplished. Document responsibilities given, tasks delegated, and any assigned deadlines. Quick action buttresses the importance of the meeting and reduces errors of memory.
Meetings take up a lot of time and resources. The more efficient they are, the better the return on our investment. By following the steps above, you can easily improve the quality of your meetings. Is there anything you've done to improve meetings? Please leave us a comment.