The team gathers in the conference room, laptops ready and notepads waiting. The meeting begins to pick up speed, but just as it does, someone shows a picture of their new cat. Now all the attendees are taking their phones out for an impromptu show and tell.
Bad meetings come with the territory, it’s normal, and the statistics speak for themselves. Every day in the US, 25 million meetings occur, and with Executives considering 67% of them to be a waste, that’s almost 17 million failed meetings every day.
Bad meetings waste money, but effective meeting management can help them run smoothly.
1. Have a Clear Objective
It’s a waste of time to have a meeting with no objective. Before scheduling a time, figure out why the meeting needs to exist first and clarify to everyone you invite what the goal will be.
This communication will not only help keep the meeting focused but will help attendees prepare.
2. Set the Agenda
If creating an objective is like having a destination, then creating a meeting agenda is like having a road map. Prepare one that your team can follow during the meeting.
A set plan will keep things moving quickly. Some even recommend you include the anticipated duration of each addressed subject.
3. Set the Mood
Leaders can change the atmosphere by bringing a confident attitude to the meeting. Consider whether the discussion needs to be formal or the team could change pace.
For example, the mood doesn’t have to be formal in brainstorming meetings. However, discussions of serious subjects or investor meetings may require more formality.
4. Start on Time
Starting meetings on time shows the attendees that their time is valued. There should be a level of professionalism and intentionality in good business meetings.
Keeping a strict start time means members are likely to show up on time and focus during the meeting.
5. End on Time
Similar to having a strict start time, having a set end time shows attendees their time is valued.
Having an end time also helps keep the meeting running efficiently. Knowing the anticipated time length makes people less likely to get off-subject. After all, who has time to show pictures of their cat when the session is only 45 minutes?
6. Don’t Allow Multitasking
Everyone thinks they can multitask. Some even think they’re more effective while multitasking. In reality, most people are less productive.
Don’t allow attendees to multitask during meetings. Having undistracted meeting participants will help you and them be as sharp and attentive as possible.
7. Only Invite Necessary Members
Don’t waste people’s time by inviting them to meetings they don’t need to participate in. Consider who needs to be there and who could be informed by a short email.
Allowing unnecessary attendees to keep working is much more productive for your organization.
8. Encourage Everyone to Participate
Like good team dynamics, having an environment of creativity and collaboration is valuable. Team members may have different but essential perspectives on subjects. Don’t let their good ideas go unspoken. Encourage everyone to participate and give honest feedback.
Stay on track, but allow for new ideas to be shared.
9. Allow Time for Questions
When you ask someone a question, they pay attention. Be specific and strategic with your questions.
Make sure to schedule extra time for questions as well. You’ll want feedback on how the meeting went and be able to clarify any lingering confusion.
10. Delegate and Follow Up
How a meeting ends might be the most crucial aspect of it. Ensuring everyone knows what tasks you assigned them from the discussion is vital.
Keep a list of any action steps discussed during the meeting, and send them to all the members shortly after. These action steps will help the attendees remember their tasks and give them a reference to look at later.
Running a successful meeting takes quite a bit of foresight and effort. The good thing about these universal tips is that they apply to several scenarios. However, if you find your meetings unhelpful or bland, consider these bonus business meeting tips.
Dull meetings are less helpful than you think. Bored meeting members are more likely to let their minds wander off. Try keeping people engaged with occasional humor.
Boosting employee morale will help keep them engaged during meetings. Regular bonding activities at staff meetings are great ways to excite employees about their work.
Meet Outside the Office
Sometimes all that’s needed is a change of scenery. Consider meeting on the road at a different location, such as a park or coffee shop. Some restaurants offer conference room rentals that your employees are sure to appreciate.
Learn More at REDC
There’s more to learn than meeting tips. If you want to learn more skills and tips for improving your business acumen, REDC offers courses and training.
Wanting to serve on a board or committee, or improve your skills if you already do? Our Council & Board Member Training course covers everything you’ll need to know, from Robert’s Rules to group dynamics and emotional intelligence.
Take your business or your career to the next level!