Meetings can be, and in many cases are, the very bane of a company’s existence. They often drag on for hours and accomplish absolutely nothing. What can you do to ensure that your meetings aren’t a waste of time? Here are five strategies for getting the best value out of your meetings, taken from an article I read online:
Is it necessary? A physical meeting isn’t always necessary. While it might seem more impersonal, a text or email will solve an issue much quicker than a meeting. Before you find yourself making slides and setting off an hour in the conference room, ask yourself if it’s necessary.
Plan the agenda: By creating an agenda for the meeting, it will be easier for everybody to prepare for the meeting, and also make sure that nobody gets sidetracked on a tangent. It allows you to focus on the most important issues at hand, ensuring that you don’t waste anybody’s time. Of course, people can still go off on tangents, but if you set up a clear agenda, you’ll be able to much more easily steer the meeting back to its proper course.
Bring key players to the table: After you’ve figured out your agenda, think about who needs to be at this meeting. If somebody doesn’t need to be at the meeting, then they’ll just bring down productivity.
Think about the goal: Piggybacking on the second post, stay focused on the goal at hand, and avoid spending too much time on items outside the agenda. One way to stay focused on the goal is to ask pointed questions to “teach” and guide participants.
Summarize the key points: If there isn’t any follow-up action, then a meeting might as well have been for nothing. To make sure that your meetings are effective, you need to follow up. Summarize key points, then distribute them to everybody in the meeting. Make sure that every key player who should take an action after the meeting knows what they’re supposed to be doing.