Meetings are a daily occurrence in a workplace and are important to get right. Running an effective meeting is more than just organising a time and place for a quick chat with your employees, they need to have structure, rules and an outcome. Without these elements, the meeting may steer off course and go on longer than expected with the only result being wasted time.
As all employers know, time is a valuable resource and should be used wisely. Meetings are a time-consuming part of any job and should be streamlined as much as possible. So when arranging a meeting, make it clear what time all employees should arrive and suggest they come five minutes before the arranged time to get set up.
To arrange and have a meeting can be expensive when you consider the time attendees have to take out from a working day. If critical employees can’t attend, postpone the meeting rather than going on ahead. Having all team members there at the same time is important to bounce ideas off each other and have everyone’s input.
Before the meeting, send an email to all people attending, with a list including everything that must be prepared beforehand and what will be discussed. It’s essential to highlight a goal that needs to be achieved, making the meeting worthwhile. If the point of the meeting is to find a solution to a problem, ask all attendees to arrive with three solutions. If the purpose of the meeting is to discuss a project, ask everyone to bring a summary of their work so far and have all progress open to discussion. Distributing material to be discussed before the meeting helps make your time more productive and will ensure results. Whether it be articles, graphs or reading material, send it to staff 48 hours before the meeting, as the more time you give to employees the better prepared they will be.
As the leader, you must ensure effective meeting facilitation, meaning that you must set a positive and productive tone for interaction among your employees. This starts with an overall review of the goals needing to be achieved, a list of possible outcomes and how you plan to achieve these results. Having a positive tone builds enthusiasm for the project and listening to employees’ ideas will make them feel appreciated and increase their commitment.
It’s important to be aware that all employees have different working styles and others are more extrovert than others. As the leader you need to involve all participants, asking the quieter people their opinion to ensure every employee is invested in the meeting topic. Asking everyone their thoughts will lead to better results rather than allowing one dominant employee to take over.
Arrange an action plan that must be completed within 24 hours. People are more likely to contribute results effectively if they are given actions to get started on straight away. Establish a deadline during the meeting and after the meeting send attendees a follow-up email to reinforce this. Delegating separate tasks to employees will help work to be completed faster make it clear that once they are given the task in the meeting, it is up to them how they complete it.
Debriefing is an effective way of making continuous improvements to meetings. Have employees discuss what they thought was beneficial and what wasn’t. Ask successful teams to debrief their work structure as well as the process they took to achieve results. Incorporate this structure into future projects and meetings as this will be an effective way to create better results every time.
Meetings are important and when organised correctly, can be a fantastic tool in delivering the best results for each task and project. Following these tips will ensure you are using meeting time effectively to produce positive and constructive outcomes every time.
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