For most kinds of businesses, meetings of some shape or form are a vital and integral part of life. But how effective are they?
Here’s my 5 ‘Meeting Masterclass’ tips…
1. Be choosy about who’s there
Only include those in the meeting who are directly involved with the task / decision and who are absolutely necessary. Everyone is busy, and the minute someone feels that their time could be spent better elsewhere they’re a lost cause, and can send the meeting off track. By spending a bit of time thinking about who really needs to be there and keeping the numbers down it will be a far more productive time.
2. Avoid distractions
Just as it’s important to limit the amount of people in each meeting, it’s important that everyone remains focused and engaged. The fewer distractions, the better. Challenge attendees to keep their laptops closed and phones not just switched to silent but out of sight.
3. A realistic agenda
I’ve been to so many meetings when the agenda is as long as your arm and will take a fortnight to get through. Have 3-5 objectives or agenda items – jotted down and communicated beforehand – and keep focused on the list. If your meeting is a sales meeting, it’s still fine to set the scene in advance to make sure you stay on track. And if you’ve addressed all the items on the agenda then finish – don’t feel that you need to then revisit or re-discuss items agreed earlier.
4. Be on time and don’t wait for stragglers
This can be a problem as sometimes it’s key customers and/or senior people who are late. Be charmingly assertive about starting on time and not waiting. People will respect you for it, and the message will get through. But please make sure that you practice what you preach and be on time yourself.
5. See eye-to-eye
Very often it’s easy to get distracted by petty politics and minor disagreements which may happen during meetings. Even if you disagree with someone’s point of view, allow them time to voice it and hope that someone would afford you the same courtesy.
Undoubtedly, meetings remain at the epicentre of professional life, and a few easy tactics can deliver big to make them matter more. Try implementing some – or all – of these tips to boost efficiency and productivity, save time and money and make the most out of every meeting. Good luck!
Sally Themans, from Good2Great, has worked for bluechip companies and small businesses in operations, strategy and latterly delivering training. She started, and has successfully run, her own business since 2005.