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 tools necessary for productivity, some meetings just do not work out and people are just wasting their time on ineffective meetings.
There are simplified methods and techniques on running an efficient and effective meeting. Here are the 10 best ways of making meetings effective:
1. Define a clear purpose for the meeting.
A meeting will only be effective if its purpose and goals are met, whether its resolving a dispute between employees or discussing a company crisis, a clear purpose must be planned before sending out the invites to the involved people.
2. Invite the necessary people only.
Having the necessary people is another step towards an effective meeting. Does the purpose of the meeting have something to do with the network security of the company? Then invite the head of the IT department. Does the purpose of the meeting have something to do with the future of the company? Then invite your boss and the employees involved.
Consider only the necessary people for a meeting and then send out the invites to those people. That way, you will not waste other people’s time and productivity.
3. Create a final schedule and stick with it.
Create a memorandum for the meeting along with the important details such as topics to be discussed, 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, but start the meeting on time.
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 an introduction.
4. Do not allow the use of smartphones or tablets during meetings.
It is hard to compete for the attention of people especially when they are using their phones or tablets. To ensure that they will be focusing on the agenda, ban the use of smartphones and tablets, so that each participant’s focus is only on the meeting.
5. Assign a moderator for the meeting.
Even though you are the one who plans the meeting, this does not mean that you are also the moderator. Consider if are the most suitable person to moderate and if you think that someone else could do it better, then don’t hesitate to assign him or her to be the moderator for the meeting.
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 but better meetings.
Rather than calling a meeting every time there are problems or disputes in the company, find other ways to resolve those problems. Sending an email or talking to the responsible people are just some of the ways thorugh which you can opt out a meeting. You must ensure the quality of your meetings. If you call in as few meetings as possible, the participants will gladly go to them.
7. Separate eating time from meeting time.
Thirty minutes to an hour before the meeting time, declare an eating time. By this people will not eat during the meeting. During the meal, everyone eats and makes small talk. During meeting time, everyone focuses on the agenda at hand and brainstorms together. This way, you can follow your plan, dedicate your attention to fulfilling the purpose of the meeting and manage your time wisely.
8. Spend the last 5 to 10 minutes of the meeting reviewing the decisions and actions of the participants and the overview of what was discussed.
A clear understanding between the participants and the purpose of the meeting must be met before the end of the meeting, ensuring that everyone had their queries satisfied and their contributions included.
The moderator should clear up any disagreements between participants before the end of the meeting and they must 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.
Every participant has his or her own problems outside of the meeting. To ensure that they will remember what was discussed in the meeting, send a follow-up note via email or leave it on their desk.
10. Send out an evaluation sheet to every participant.
We must admit that not everyone loves the idea of meetings and for those outliers, 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 feedback from those types of people.
Check the feedback of the participants, incorporate requests of the participants into the next meeting, and change any process that causes discomfort to the participants. We must ensure the safety and productivity of the participants during meetings.
Now go ahead and incorporate these tips into your daily meeting routine and let the productivity flow. Remember, an effective meeting is a process everyone must abide to!
Featured photo credit: Meeting by John Benson via flickr.com