Make the most of meetings.

Learn how to run a meeting that works for you and your team.

Articles

With a limited number of hours in each day, most of us are looking for ways to be more productive. Unfortunately, poorly organized and executed meetings waste time, frustrate employees and cripple productivity. While you can’t control how others run their meetings, you can implement these best practice to ensure that you host effective meetings from here on out.

Know why you're meeting, with whom and how. 

Most meetings really are necessary, but occasionally there are times when a meeting really isn't required. So, the first step is determining if a meeting is truly needed and what you plan to accomplish as a result. Once you have clear goals, identify the key individuals who must be invited and decide if what you need to accomplish has to be done face to face or can be accommodated via a conference call, chat session or video chat. Allowing attendees to call in from remote locations - even from their office down the hall - makes it more convenient for everyone.

Set an agenda. And stick to it.

Every meeting has a purpose - and if it doesn't, there's no point in meeting - so make sure that all of the attendees are on the same page before the meeting begins. Create an agenda in advance and circulate it amongst key players to generate feedback and ensure that everyone knows why you're meeting and what you hope to accomplish. Send updated agendas prior to the meeting if there have been any changes, and provide additional copies at the meeting in case people arrive without theirs.

Remember, you want the meeting to be as productive as possible, so use the agenda as your guide – stay on topic and insist that everyone else does, too. If issues arise that require further discussion but are not directly related to the topic you're meeting about, suggest having a conversation at a later time.

Effective meetings are unplugged.

You won't accomplish much if half the people at the conference table are checking their email while the rest are fielding calls on their cell phones. So, ask attendees to leave their laptops, tablets and cell phones out of the meeting. For longer meetings, schedule breaks at strategic intervals to allow people to catch up with calls, email and work.

Watch the clock.

Start your meeting on time – even if all of the attendees haven't arrived. Be sure to stay on task with discussions and keep small talk to a minimum. Don't feel bad about cutting people off if their comments go on too long; instead, respectfully thank them for their input and let them know it's time to move on. If the meeting is a long one, schedule breaks when appropriate. And remember, starting on time means ending on time. Everyone will appreciate that.

Remember to follow up.

Great meetings promote a healthy discussion and result in decisions. So include an administrative assistant to take notes or ask one of the attendees to keep a record of the conversation and any decisions reached. These will come in handy after the meeting, as details can be lost when a lot of ground is covered.

Afterward, follow up with a short email thanking everyone for their participation, answering any questions, and providing any additional information as promised during the meeting. This is also a great time to send along the notes from the meeting to ensure that everyone is clear on what was decided and why.

Be consistent.

Once you develop a reputation for holding productive, efficient and effective meetings, people will come to expect that same level of professionalism all the time. As a result, you may notice that people are more energized when they're attending your meetings. You may even notice others in your company employing some of your tactics to improve their own meetings.

For more workforce advice, contact us today.

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