Want to know how to conduct a successful meeting? Our latest post will give you effective tips and techniques to keep all attendees involved and engaged.
What is an Effective Meeting?
An effective meeting is concise, productive and memorable. Everyone should come away from your meeting feeling as though they have accomplished something valuable. Meeting effectiveness can be measured by how excited and energized your employees are after the meeting has adjourned.
Most of us understand the basics of how not to run a meeting. We have all been subjected to the mandatory meetings that drone on endlessly with slide shows, lengthy handouts and that one guy who just has to ask for clarification on every single thing being discussed.
Because meetings like this occur all too frequently, the majority of people feel like, in general, meetings in the workplace are a waste of time. In fact, Forbes cites a survey of professionals in the United States that found that meetings are ranked highest on the list of office productivity killers.
Tips for Running Effective Meetings
It never hurts to have a few tips for conducting effective meetings up your sleeve, so we have compiled a list of the best tricks we know for effective meeting management.
1. Have a clear purpose in mind.
Your meeting can only be successful if you have a specific, defined purpose that has been outlined from the start.
2. Only invite the people who really need to be there.
The bigger the meeting is, the more likely it is to get derailed with unproductive tangents. Once you have a specific goal for your meeting, only require attendance from the people who absolutely need to be there to accomplish your goal.
3. Remember that you are in control of the meeting.
It can be easy to simply let one person monopolize the conversation, but this most often leads to frustration and disengagement from everyone else present. If someone is talking far more than anyone else, don't be afraid to step in and set boundaries. Thank the person for his contributions and inform the entire group that you require input from everyone before the meeting concludes.
4. Keep your meetings on schedule.
Once you garner a reputation for being someone that sticks to prompt beginning and ending times, your meetings will quickly become better, and colleagues will be more likely to come when invited.
How to Open a Meeting Effectively
There are a few effective meetings techniques that can be implemented from the very start of your gathering.
1. Tell everyone to leave their tech at their desks.
iPads and smartphones can be useful tools, but they really have no place in your meeting room. When people bring their devices into your meeting, it's inevitable that they will end up distracted by playing games and not contributing.
2. State the meeting's purpose immediately.
Give everyone in your meeting a defined purpose and a single, clear goal. This makes it easy for everyone to make useful contributions more quickly, which makes your meeting shorter and more effective.
3. Prepare your paperwork beforehand.
Even though you should announce your goal at the start of each meeting, it is important to have a well-formulated agenda for everyone to follow. Your agenda should be concise and highly specific to keep everyone on track.
How to End a Meeting Effectively
Now that you have learned a few opening strategies for successful business and group meetings, it is time to dive into how you can most effectively end your meetings. It may seem like the opening and content of your schedule are what makes a meeting successful, but ending your meeting properly is actually just as important.
1. Always adjourn on a high note.
The very end of an experience tends to leave a lasting emotional impression, so even if you didn't solve the problem or resolve the main agenda issue, refer to something positive that did come from the meeting and be sure to thank everyone for their help before you dismiss them.
2. Make sure to follow up with everyone within 24 hours.
Many times, people can leave meetings with very different interpretations of their responsibilities moving forward. While it is important to distribute the meeting minutes, it is even more important to follow up with some sort of brief memo as well. Whether it is a paper communication or an email, the follow up should highlight what was resolved, any deadlines that were assigned and who is responsible for each task discussed.
3. Jot down paper notes for yourself during the meeting.
These can be things you want to address outside of the agenda or ways to better prepare for future meetings. Keep a small notebook with you rather than taking notes on a phone or tablet to minimize the risk of attendees thinking you are distracted.
Meetings often gain a bad reputation for being dysfunctional and unproductive, but the truth is that they can be highly effective tools when used properly. The next time you are planning a meeting or asked to attend one, keep these tips in mind to help you maximize your meeting effectiveness.