How to Maintain Control of Your Meetings
Make sure you do this in every meeting!
Often described as “soul-sucking,” “the biggest dread in the day,” and “a waste of time,” meetings continue to be a much-dreaded business norm. But the reality is, we do actually need to conduct face-to-face meetings for a myriad of reasons. From client to board meetings, there are certain tips you can learn to upgrade your experience and get the most out of your time. Where is the most important place to start? With you!
Here are my top tips on how to have the best meeting ever
(and exactly what to avoid!)
1. Have a clearly defined goal and purpose:
Many meetings seem to drag on for hours when there is no clear goal you are working towards. Meetings are a waste of time when people are discussing off-topic subjects just to throw in their two cents, versus sticking to working towards an actionable conclusion.
2. Implement a timeline for your agenda and action items:
Once you have a meeting goal, it is imperative to follow through with the supporting agenda. Your agenda should include the over-arching talking points that lead into an action plan. In addition, your agenda should have a starting and ending time for the meeting. An article by Inc. found that 63% of meetings conducted don’t even have an agenda!
In addition, meeting guidelines are helpful to create a sense of structure for those in attendance. These guidelines should not cover standard meeting etiquette, but instead focus on unique aspects of the meeting. A great example of a meeting guideline is: “We are only discussing the X project in this meeting. While it does fit into a larger project, we will have a separate meeting to discuss the broader project.”
As a reminder, a meeting with multiple goals should be structured to appropriately address each goal within a specific amount of time. Having a clear structure and timeline will assist you in maximizing your meeting time. We all know that staying on-time is key to a successful meeting.
3. Stop trying to run the meeting, take notes, and manage the tech:
When running a meeting, even a small one, it is imperative that you stay focused and on-track to keep it moving in the right direction. When you are distracted with note taking, flipping through slides, and figuring out how to Skype in your remote employees, it is easy to get completely distracted by the small hick-ups, leading to a lengthy and unproductive meeting.
Instead, delegate these duties to the meeting’s participants. Not only will this help keep you on-time and free to focus on the goal, but it will get those attending the meeting to stay present because they have a task at hand.
4. Get the extra cooks out of the kitchen:
With a whopping 73% of meeting attendees admitting to doing other work during a meeting, ask yourself who really needs to be in attendance. A smaller group better keeps people accountable and can move things along at a quicker pace. A great tip is to have your presentation, notes, and key decisions emailed out to the participants or stored on a team drive or company server for easy access.
A few small changes to the way you run your meetings can have a big impact on the reception of the information being presented or discussed and its overall success. Do you have any tips on how to have a successful meeting? Share your ideas here or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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