7 Ways to Conduct Effective Meetings
Bad meetings are the worst. When the agenda isn’t clear, the person in charge isn’t in leading properly and no one can agree on anything, a staff meeting can be downright painful.
Conducting an effective meeting isn’t rocket science. It simply requires a bit of preparation and discipline. If you’re looking to hold more effective team meetings, consider the following seven tips.
1) Have a Strong Agenda
Everybody should walk into a meeting knowing why they were asked to come and what they are trying to get done. An agenda acts as a roadmap for the discussion, which can come in handy if the meeting gets off track. If meeting leaders have an agenda before starting the proceedings, everybody can quickly get on board and stay on track.
2) Start and End on Time
Nothing can suck the energy out of a meeting like waiting for the person running it to arrive up or for a late-running meeting to finish.
It is important to remember that the tone of a company culture is set at the top. If leaders make a point of starting and ending meetings on time, it sets a good example for staff members to follow.
3) Invite Only the Most Relevant People
If you've ever been in a meeting where the material being presented isn't relevant to you, you know that situation can be incredibly frustrating. Because frustrated employees aren’t as productive, try to avoid inviting people to meetings who don’t need to be there.
4) Allow Time for Input
The knowledge and perspective of your staff members is an important resource. A source too critical to be left untapped.
While you don't want meetings to devolve into a chatter-fest, you also don't want to quash the voicing of good ideas and productive conversation. An effective meeting should include input and creative energy. This occurs when people are participating, not only passively sitting there.
5) Maintain Focus
For whatever reason, there's always someone in a team meeting who has a tendency to go off on tangents and tell stories. Although storytelling isn't always bad, a meeting that always goes off-topic isn't a productive meeting.
The hardest task to perform leading a meeting is to get people to focus. One of the attendees at a meeting should be given the responsibility of guiding an off-track meeting back to the agenda.
6) All Killer, No Filler
The longer a meeting goes on, the harder it is to maintain everyone’s focus, and the less people are focused, the less useful a meeting becomes.
A good way to keep everyone engaged is to take the “all killer, no filler” approach. Don’t stuff the agenda full of unnecessary tidbits.
7) End with Actionable Items
The last few minutes of any meeting should be used to talk about actionable items. This ending conversation ought to include determining who is accountable for what actionable items and any deadlines. If this isn't done, the meeting will be less likely to produce useful outcomes.
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