The prospect of yet another meeting probably fills your employees with dread. In many cases, that’s perfectly acceptable. Meetings tend to be a real drag, and often achieve nothing apart from starting a few arguments and raise blood pressure. However, if you want to focus on what your business needs and what you expect from people, then they are a necessity. So, how do you make your meetings a lot more successful? These ideas should help, whether your meetings are in person or via conference call.
Meet for a reason
Many companies have a tendency to hold a meeting for no particular reason. It could be for a team ‘catch up’, or it could just be because that’s what you do on Monday, Tuesday and Friday after lunch. Try and get out of this habit if you are guilty of it. Meetings should have a defined reason to take place – and catching up on what everybody has been up to isn’t necessarily a reason. Get a goal in place and that objective will drive the meeting through with a lot more pace – and people will be a lot more interested.
All successful meetings have one thing in common: they stick to the point. Having defined your goal, always stay on that topic and never waver from it, no matter how much Bob from HR wants to moan about the broken coffee machine again. You should take particular care when asking for other people’s opinions. It’s at this point that things might get a little fuzzy, because they might have something unconnected on their minds. However, you have to stay on track or very quickly things will become messy.
Don’t waste time with pens, paper and not taking. Record your meeting instead and play it back when you are on the commute home. You’ll get a better grasp of the key points that other people make and won’t have the written bias that often comes with writing things down from one person’s point of view. If you have attendees that are on Skype or an intercom system, then a simple phone recording device can be used in combination with a voice recorder. It’s a simple, quick, and efficient way of note taking that gives you far more information to draw from when you review it.
By the end of the meeting, everybody who leaves should have a task or action they have to complete, by a particular time. If anybody leaves that room without anything to do, they shouldn’t have been there in the first place, so this is a great way to start weeding out your attendee list. Not only will you be wasting their time, but if they are the only person with nothing to do as a result of the meeting, then it can affect their self-worth.
Finish on time
All meetings should have a cast-iron start time. And they should also end in the same manner. If you overrun, it’s a sure sign that the meeting has failed. Either people have got distracted, or you haven’t planned well enough in advance.
It might take you a few attempts to run the perfect meeting, but once you start noticing these critical issues, it will do your company the world of good. Speed, focus, and accuracy is all it takes to stop those eyes rolling at the mere mention of the ‘M’ word.