Have you ever been stuck in a bad meeting? Arriving on time, you discover the meeting has been delayed. And even when the meeting starts, there is no clear agenda, no person in charge and no real decision made. The meeting concludes as you realise that you have wasted your time.
Everyone wants to utilise their time wisely and be productive. Why should managing meetings be any different?
Communication and teamwork can be improved, as well as employee productivity and engagement, when meetings are managed effectively. The additional benefit of well-planned meetings is that they reduce the amount of time that employees waste. Employees are able to spend more time doing productive work instead of wasting time in a meeting room or on a video call.
In this article, we offer you top tips for effective team meetings and how to ensure that your time is not wasted.
1) Have a clear objective
As a first step in preparing for effective team meetings, you should establish a clear purpose for the meeting. A clear purpose may seem obvious, but many meetings start without one. Make sure that you decide what objectives and outcomes you want to achieve from the meeting. Are you managing meetings to discuss and create new ideas, impart or gather information, or plan a new strategy?
A meeting that is effective requires that the objectives and goals be set ahead of time, meaning that all attendees are clear about why it is taking place and what will be discussed. This is critical to not only maximise productivity and efficiency but to also ensure that the outcome is successful. As long as the objectives are described, attendees will have an understanding of what to expect so that there will be no blind spots and they will be prepared to discuss specific action points during the meeting.
2) Follow the agenda
During a meeting, an agenda outlines the main topics to be discussed and who will handle each part of the meeting. A meeting agenda helps you stay on track and on time during the meeting.
Once you decide the points to cover and the length of the presentation, you can prepare the information that needs to be given beforehand. This could include what the participants need to know in order to make the most of the meeting time or their expected role in the meeting so that they can do the right preparation.
The idea is to use your agenda as your time guide - deferring a discussion until another meeting or assigning it to a subcommittee is an option if time is running out for a particular item.
3) Be prepared
Preparing for meetings and completing any necessary tasks before you attend will help to keep the meeting on track. Make a list of the points that need to be discussed in the meeting as well as the purpose of the meeting.
Distributing the agenda two days in advance of the meeting will give your team members adequate time to prepare material, create presentations, plan pitches and complete other important tasks.
4) Don't lose focus
A meeting can be really dragged down by an off-topic discussion!
The hardest part of leading a group is getting them to focus. No matter who is organising or participating, someone should always be responsible for bringing the meeting back on track and bringing the focus back on its assigned topics.
Setting concrete action steps and following up is much easier when a meeting has a clear focus. In other words, if the meeting is over without any actionable next steps, it should be considered a waste of time.
The key to chairing great meetings is to have a clear objective, a tight agenda, be prepared and a commitment to include meeting participants in planning, preparation, and execution.
5) Create space for creative thinking
Meetings shouldn't take you away from your actual work; if they are structured right, running a meeting should be productive. Whether it is to project your presentation to a panel of investors or meet with your next client for business negotiations or schedule a corporate event with your team, you need a good meeting space with the best tools and amenities.