All organizations must find ways to make their meetings more productive. This is a difficult task. To be effective, each meeting must focus on the individual talents of the participants and work towards the specific goals of the current organization, and it must do so in a way that is culturally appropriate and contextually relevant to the world around it.
Well, it’s not that easy as it sounds. So how can your organization make meetings more productive? Your job description should clearly explain why attending team meetings is important. Meeting managers must also explain why they are holding the meeting and what they want to achieve.
Here are some ways high-performing organizations can improve their meetings:
- Create an agenda, and stick to it
This may seem obvious, but many meetings still start without a clear meaning. Specifying the goals and objectives of the meeting at the beginning of the agenda or meeting helps guide the meeting in the desired direction. This allows employees to follow a script and return to it if they wander.
I also recommend assigning a specific time frame to each topic. This ensures that the meeting goes smoothly. Whenever a conversation gets lost, the manager needs to get it back on track.
- Start on a positive note
Creating a team that is rooted in each other and has friendships is important to the life of the team. Starting each meeting with a lively and positive interaction, so that each member of the meeting can be heard, expressed and felt part of the big picture.
Walk across the room and allow each person to share last week’s progress. Including this in the first 15 minutes of the meeting will make the week more positive and allow people to focus on what works, rather than always on mistakes.
- Give others a chance to speak
Be aware of the strong personality that hijacks your meeting. You are one of them! A simple trick to reach out to quiet attendees is to give them time to write down their ideas, thoughts, or inputs for sharing with you later.
- Meet outside the office
Off-site meetings are a great way to avoid frustration and lack of energy. Landscape changes help bring energy and ideas. Consider taking your team out and taking them to a nearby coffee shop or restaurant.
- Meeting Leaders are compulsory
Clear leadership of the meeting is required. Each of these three roles is clearly defined for the operational meeting.
Team Leader: The team leader is usually the “elder” of the room and answers high-level questions. They have the most experience and authority to form the final opinion on the decision. The team leader introduces the meeting, hands it over to the discussion leader, and takes observations and notes to improve and guide the meeting.
Discussion Leader: The discussion leader is responsible for running meetings, ensuring that discussions run smoothly and on time and that all items on the agenda are processed.
Writer: The writer is responsible for taking notes, tracking action items, and assisting in post-meeting follow-up articles.
- Start and end on time
Time management is very important when running an effective business meeting. It’s a good idea to give attendees time to start a meeting, but it’s important that business meetings start and end on time. Please set a time limit and do your best not to exceed this mark.
The Bottom Line
The opportunity to meet and work with a team is a terrible thing to miss. It is imperative to develop discipline for people to plan and lead meetings that evaluate and promote initiatives. These were some of the lessons which I implemented in my professional life. I just hope that this works for you too.