How much does a typical meeting cost your company? How much talent is in the room – and what is all that time costing? And what if you don’t reach the right conclusions – what is the price of that? Business Optimizer considers how to ensure the meetings you host are successful.
These ten essential tips help to ensure your meetings are as successful as they can be.
#1. Know your purpose
Be clear about what you want to achieve by having the meeting; this will help you plan more clearly before, during and after your meeting.
#2. Invite the right people
Your colleagues’ time is important. Think about who needs to be there. Who can help you achieve your meeting goals? And who might be affected by what you decide? When you invite people, be clear with people about the meeting goals and why you would value their attendance.
#3. Set a clear agenda
This step should be easy if you have thought clearly about step one. Share your agenda well in advance with everyone attending, so they are as clear about the meeting goals as you are – and come well prepared.
#4. Ditch the desk
Some commentators think its possible to drive engagement and make faster decisions when we don’t allow ourselves to get too comfortable. By standing around a bar table, you enable your team to take notes, but inject a sense of urgency into proceedings. While this might not work with client meetings, this could be one thing to try during your next internal team meeting.
#5. Escape the office
Other commentators suggest escaping the typical conference room environment and meeting in a local coffee shop or another environment where people feel more free to open up. Deciding on whether a stand-up meeting or a coffee-shop meeting is appropriate for your particular meeting will come back to the decisions you made during step one and step two: who is invited and what are you trying to achieve?
#6. Chair the meeting effectively
Your role as meeting organiser is hugely important. As chair, it’s your job to stop people going off track and ensure your goals are achieved. Advance minutes, paper notetaking and clear communication will help with this.
#7. Encourage participants to take paper notes
Business leaders suggest taking notes can help with topic engagement. You don’t need multiple sets of minutes – it isn’t about recording proceedings verbatim. It’s about capturing the points and tasks that are most salient to each attendee – particularly any contemporaneous and personal thoughts about how goals can be achieved.
#8. Draw conclusions together
Before the meeting concludes, build consensus around the necessary actions and next steps.
#9. Share salient minutes promptly
You’ve already agreed the next steps, so there shouldn’t be any unexpected shocks in the minutes or subsequent task assignments. Try to keep your minutes succinct, so people read them and process them immediately rather than simply shunting them into the “read later” pile.
#10. Follow up consistently
Don’t leave it until after the deadline has passed to start chasing responses. Working collaboratively will lead to a better and faster outcome for everyone.