Meetings are a regular part of the day-to-day running of a business. They enable employees across the organisation to communicate with one another and get tasks done. Businesses should hold meetings because they are a great way to boost morale, develop work skills and communicate important messages. However, if conducted poorly, meetings can be a time waster.
To avoid a disappointing, unproductive meeting, here are a few tips for holding an effective meeting and some tips on what to avoid.
Set an agenda
Be prepared and set an agenda with topics to be discussed and estimate times for each section. Distribute the agenda ahead of time so participants can understand what will be covered and can prepare accordingly. Being clear on timing of the meeting means your participants can plan their day and will be more focused, rather than worrying about what else they need to tick off the to-do list for the day.
Consider taking your meeting to a new location
Gathering at the same meeting room table at the same time every week or month is a great way to introduce boredom and disengagement among the meeting attendees. To encourage employees to interact, think creatively, and have them engage in lively discussions, take the meeting beyond the meeting room. If you are hosting an annual meeting like an AGM or making a special announcement, consider holding the event in a hotel or offsite conference room. The change of scenery will keep your audience interested and encourage creativity.
As the saying goes, ‘a picture is worth 1000 words’. Today, with the importance and ease of access to digital technologies, there is little excuse to not use technology to keep your audience engaged. Most people are used to seeing graphics, videos and music to support the words they hear. Incorporate audiovisuals when planning your meeting. Using projectors and Smart Board presentations that encourage interaction are a wonderful change from ‘death by PowerPoint’. Also incorporate time for questions. This shows you are connecting with your audience and can give the floor to the person asking the question, making them feel valued.
Avoid status updates from all departments
Unless there is something meaningful and important that will be relevant and interesting to everyone involved in the meeting, don’t give a ‘week in review’ from each department during the meeting. Unless there is a specific need for help, a request for more resources or the need to share critical information for a larger team discussion, leave it out.
Don’t forget to follow up
Don’t assume that everyone remembers or took a note of what their allocated tasks were from the meeting. And don’t assume that everyone understood what you were implying or intending to say during the meeting. Have someone take minutes during the meeting, then send out a meeting summary as soon as possible after the meeting outlining the action items for each individual or team, including a due date and clarifying any points that may have been debated in the meeting. Also send this to people who were unavailable during the meeting as they will need to know what was discussed.
If you would like help to set up your next business meeting for success, contact AVPartners.