Productive, meaningful, and enjoyable meetings require a goal, open dialogue, and a strong leader. Here's how to make your meetings matter.
Step 1. Make every meeting matter, or don't do any meeting at all
Decide if a meeting is necessary and invite only the necessary people. Massive amounts of valuable time are wasted just because managers think face-to-face time itself is important or because they got used to a particular routine. Emails are usually important to give your team an update or status report. But if you need instant feedback from all participants, then an email will not be as effective as a face-to-face meeting.
Step 2. Define the goals and distribute the agenda in advance
Create a structure for your meeting. Simply setting an ideal outcome usually inspires participants and makes meetings more productive. In the end, what he highlights is a characteristic that every meeting should have: a goal. Before the meeting starts, make sure everyone understands the goals by making an agenda.
Step 3. Own your meeting, take charge and keep the meeting moving
Good meetings are the product of good leadership. Take charge and make it clear that you intend to keep the conversation timely, useful, and relevant. Show your colleagues that you respect their time by making sure there is a watch that is visible to everyone. Staying on topic is the key to sticking to a schedule. If the conversation gets off track, refocus the group by saying something like, 'Interesting, but I don't think we're making progress on that.
Step 4. Get the constructive information you need from everyone present
Since the point of a meeting is two-way communication, getting honest information from everyone is crucial. It is the responsibility of the meeting leader to make everyone heard. To build consensus or reach a group decision, avoid overly demonstrating your opinion; it is easy for a leader to stifle an argument if everyone assumes that the conclusion is already determined. Avoid the temptation to dismiss ideas immediately - even when they're terrible.
Step 5. Close with an action plan, try to make sure that everyone leaves knowing what the next step is
He also ends the meeting by asking everyone if they think the meeting was useful and if not, what can be done better next time. Follow up on your own by analyzing what can be done to improve your techniques for an effective meeting.
Step 6. Stay up-to-date on the progress of things that were decided at the meeting
Also keep the group informed of the development. This will help you organize the next meeting more effectively.
Step 7. Make sure your meeting did not take place in isolation by letting the right people know what was decided and what will happen next
It's easy to walk out of the boardroom, go back to your desk, and immediately forget every change, decision, and new idea your group has agreed upon. Make sure you have a system in place to keep track of what was decided and the assignments everyone agreed to take, so you can follow up and keep things moving, even if you don't send full minutes about the meeting.
- Prepare your meeting, which is usually forgotten by many.
- Let all participants give feedback without feeling embarrassed or insulted.
- An excellent tool to have an effective meeting is to use OARR: Objectives, Agenda, Roles and Responsibilities. First, your meeting must have a goal. If you have a meeting just to hand out information, don't make people waste their time with a meeting. Send them an informative email. The objective should be an active component and, if possible, a product to be shown: 'determine quarterly objectives for the team'. The agenda is a list of topics that will help you get there, with a time limit to keep them on the right track. For example, '1. Check the status of past quarterly goals (15 mins), 2. Round table to suggest goals (20 mins), 3. Choose the 5 best goals (10 mins), etc. For Roles and Responsibilities, determine who will lead the meeting, who will take notes, who will assign the actions or tasks resulting from the meeting.
- Make sure you start and end the meeting on time.
- Leaders need to know not only how to run the meeting, but when NOT to call one.
Seven reasons why a meeting should be canceled or rescheduled:
- A key member will not be able to arrive. Rescheduling the meeting is a headache, but it is worse to get everyone together and not be able to carry out the planned work. If you need the information of a key member, reschedule the meeting.
- If the agenda has not been distributed well in advance. People need time to prepare for the meeting, make suggestions and changes to the agenda, and have some sense of how much time is going to be allocated to each item in the meeting. They must receive the agenda at least three days before.
- The purpose of the meeting is unclear. When a meeting is simply informative, participants feel that it is unfair to be wasted their time. Make it clear what they have to achieve, why, how and when.
- The work can be faster or better in another format (for example, by e-mail or by phone). Don't have a meeting unless it's the only and best way to get the job done.
- The reading material has not been distributed in advance. The reading of the material should be done in each person's time, not in group time.
- The only space available for the meeting does not meet the technological needs of the group. If the material cannot be presented convincingly or in the best light, wait until it is possible.
- A recent event or discovery has left the board's goal moot.
- Leaders must know not only how to have a good meeting, they must also know when not to have one.