It’s another Monday morning and your team is arriving for another meeting. You know what you have to look forward to - blank stares, distracted doodles and possible wasted time. However, it doesn’t have to be this way!
Meetings have gotten a bad rap over the years, mostly due to organisers not following the rules below. Sometimes meetings just have to happen, but they don’t have to leave a bitter taste. All you need is a new recipe for productive business meetings!
1. First, you need the right people. Not everyone in your department needs to be involved in every discussion. Think carefully before you send that meeting invitation. Only include people whose input is essential or whose jobs are directly affected. Let everyone else continue with their usual work. However, make sure you do include everyone whose contribution is needed. A meeting which can’t reach its conclusion due to absenteeism is just wasted time.
2. Make sure you plan the meeting in advance. Research your material fully. Make certain that the discussion requires a meeting rather than an email. Much of the time wasted in meetings could have been avoided if only the facilitator had thought their plans through thoroughly.
3. Have a solid objective. You should have a clear outcome that you hope to achieve over the course of the meeting. What exactly will you discuss? What measurable goals will you reach together? Set an objective and make sure that all actions taken during the meeting move you closer to this goal. Discourage conversations or actions which aren't constructive. Your team will thank you for not wasting time.
4. Next, you will need a cohesive structure. Strong meetings don’t meander. They have agendas which are clearly communicated. They are organised and everyone knows the role they will play. Information should be presented clearly. Well-prepared visuals should be included at strategic points. The more structured the meeting, the more likely that your team will engage with the content, understand things and work toward the goal successfully.
5. Mix in some excellent time management. Your team all have valuable jobs. Each person has tasks which they need to accomplish. This meeting may be necessary but keep to your schedule.
6. Finally, ensure you practise strong leadership. That glazed look you often see in meetings is a sign that the facilitator isn’t doing their job. A strong leader will find ways to include and engage each team member. If they aren’t engaged, why were they invited? Be positive and encouraging, but firm in your direction. Be prepared to mediate disagreements in a supportive way and never forget to express your appreciation for your team!
Add all of these ingredients together and enjoy your results! You may be surprised to find that your meetings now achieve far more.
Want to know more? Our meeting advice page has plenty of advice to help your meetings run even more productively
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