Are the meetings you attend dull, unproductive and just too long? If you’ve sat through a meeting and thought “what a waste of time”, you’re not alone!
With proper planning and some preparation, we can all help to make meetings more effective, and (shock horror) even more enjoyable!
Effective meetings are those that offer a chance to discuss and evaluate goals and objectives, keep updated on current activities, and provide a real chance to communicate and pool resources.
Use Time Wisely
Time is precious. You owe it to yourself (and the rest of the people in the meeting), to streamline as much as possible. Therefore, be sure to:
- Develop an agenda – be realistic and concise.
- Select an appropriate meeting time and place. Set a time limit for the meeting, and then do your very best to stick to it. Respect the fact that attendees have other commitments, and will be more likely to attend if your meetings prove to be both productive and concise.
- Circulate the agenda and any background material prior to the meeting so that attendees can arrive prepared, and feel involved and well informed from the outset.
- Aim to arrange the room so that people face each other, perhaps in a circle or semi-circles.
- Choose a location suitable to the number of attendees. Use visual aids (e.g., posters, diagrams) if appropriate.
- Make sure all attending receive a reminder just before the meeting. If a critical person is 15 minutes late in an eight person meeting, that person has could be responsible for losing the business up to two hours!
Expect the unexpected!
Even during the most perfect organised meeting you may find that unanticipated elements or ideas that pop up. But it’s all good!
As the organiser, it’s your task to carefully navigate the fine line between heading off on a tangent and appreciating the ‘this is very important – thank goodness someone brought it up’ moments. It’s vital that key conversations (that your team really need to have) are not cut off just because they don’t follow your meeting plan. Be transparent with those attending if you do need to cut something short, or allow an unexpected conversation.
Come back next time for part two, when we offer you three more top tips and a handy meeting checklist to benchmark your meetings against!