Effective meetings are one of the ways of discussing and solving problems, not just in a company but in any organization. Be it the boss or the employees, anyone can contribute and speak.
Although meetings are necessary tools for productivity, some meetings just do not work out and end up wasting everyone’s time and energy.
There are simplified methods and elements for running an efficient and effective meeting, 10 of which will be presented here.
1. Define a Clear Purpose for the Meeting
Before calling for a meeting, you must first ask:
Why and what for?
A meeting will only be effective if its purpose and goals are clear, whether it’s resolving a dispute between employees or discussing a company crisis. This also involves reaching a certain outcome, and this outcome is most likely related to the purpose.
A clear purpose must be planned before sending out the invites to the involved people. Make sure you know exactly why you’re meeting and the hoped-for result.
2. Invite Only the Necessary People
Having only the necessary people as meeting participants is another step towards an effective meeting.
Does the purpose of the meeting have something to do with the network security of the company? Invite the head of the IT department.
Does the purpose of the meeting have something to do with the future of the company? Invite your boss and the employees involved.
Only people who are directly connected to the expected outcome should attend the meeting. That way, you will not waste other people’s time and productivity. This will also keep the numbers as low as possible, which means less interruptions and distractions.
3. Approve a Final Schedule
When you’re working to run effective meetings, create an agenda for the meeting. This should include action items, venue, start and end time, and the people involved. Then, send the memorandum to the necessary people via email, or place it on their desk.
Do not wait for people who are running late, and ensure that the meeting starts on time. This may not be easy at first, especially if you are the lenient type. But you’ll realize that this is important not only for you but for other people as well.
People will be more comfortable with a meeting if the agenda is laid in front of them. This will also lessen trivial matters, such as unnecessary introductions or the insertion of random questions.
4. Create a Rule Against Smartphones or Tablets
It is hard to compete for the attention of people, especially when they are using their phones or tablets.
Multitasking is already a problematic thing in itself, but it’s worse when you have to compete with devices specially designed to catch people’s attention. Research shows that multitasking between different media results in poorer information processing and lower performance and productivity.
In one study, “Results showed that heavy media multitaskers are more susceptible to interference from irrelevant environmental stimuli and from irrelevant representations in memory”.
To ensure that meeting-goers will be focusing on the agenda, ban the use of smartphones and tablets so that each participant focuses on the task at hand.
5. Assign a Moderator
Even though you are the one who plans the meeting, this does not mean that you are also the moderator.
You should think about if you are the most suitable person to moderate the meeting or if someone else could do it better. This will likely depend on the topic. Don’t hesitate to assign other qualified people to be the moderator if you feel it’s best for productivity.
Of course, the moderator should be someone who knows how to run effective meetings. The moderator should also act as a timekeeper and watch the correct flow of the meeting, making sure the agenda is on track. Chances are, the meeting will be more successful this way.
6. Have Fewer, Better Meetings
Rather than calling a meeting every time there is a problem or dispute in the company, find other ways to resolve those problems.
There are many alternatives to meetings that are more effective and efficient than having suboptimal meetings. Sending an email or talking to the responsible people are just some of the ways through which you can opt out of meetings.
You can find more ideas for alternatives to meetings in this article.
If you call in as few meetings as possible, the participants will be more enthusiastic about attending. You must ensure the quality of your meetings, and you can do this by avoiding unnecessary ones.
7. Separate Eating Time From Meeting Time
Doing other things during a meeting will decrease everyone’s attention, and this includes eating. It can be a good idea to declare an eating time thirty minutes to an hour before the meeting time. This will ensure that people will not eat during the meeting, which then avoids further distractions.
During the meal or eating time, everyone can eat and make small talk. But during the meeting, everyone should focus on the agenda at hand and brainstorm together.
This way, you can follow your plan, dedicate your attention to fulfilling the purpose of the meeting, and manage your time wisely.
8. Review the Decisions of the Meeting
During the final five to ten minutes of the meeting, go through any decisions made and actions taken. A clear understanding between the participants and the purpose of the meeting must be met before everyone leaves. This ensures that everyone has their queries satisfied and their contributions included.
It also offers an opportunity for anyone to express final doubts or questions, or to share information that is relevant to the decisions, which is all key for effective meetings.
The moderator should clear up any disagreements between participants before the end of the meeting, and they should come up with concise solutions to their problems. It is important that everyone absorbs what was discussed in the meeting.
9. Send a Follow-Up Note to Every Participant
“The faintest ink is more powerful than the strongest memory.” -Chinese Proverb
Every participant has their own problems outside of the meeting. This is why some people often forget some things, even if they’re important. To ensure that people will remember what was discussed in the meeting, send a follow-up note via email, or leave it on their desk.
This should be short and sweet, covering what was discussed and the conclusions that were reached. It can also include a quick “thank you” for their participation.
10. Send Out an Evaluation Sheet
We must admit that not everyone loves the idea of meetings. For those people, we must find ways to ensure that they will be comfortable whenever they are included in a meeting.
Some of them won’t say what the problems are if asked directly, so an evaluation sheet is a handy tool to get their feedback.
Check out this article for more information on why feedback is so important.
Check the feedback of the participants, incorporate requests of the participants into the next meeting, and change any process that causes discomfort. To run effective meetings, ensuring that people feel comfortable is key.
Meetings are important, but it doesn’t mean that they are always productive. It’s important to first learn how to run successful meetings before expecting everything to go smoothly.
Remember that an effective meeting is a process where everyone must cooperate.
These 10 simple tips on how to run effective meetings will surely help you become a better leader and teammate. Now go ahead and incorporate these tips into your daily meeting routine and let the productivity flow.
More Tips on How to Run Effective Meetings
- 15 Secrets To Running Meetings Like The World’s Top Innovative Companies
- 12 Secrets To a Super Productive Meeting You Should Know
- 30sec Tip: How to Improve the Efficiency of Meetings?
Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com