Productive meetings are essential for organizations. Gathering as a team, either in person or virtually, allows for clear communication and more effective decision making. But often, meetings miss the mark; attendees leave longing for clarity or leaders desire consensus and buy-in. So why is it that some meetings run longer than they should and fail to keep attendees engaged? It’s because they often fail to follow these crucial tips:
1. Communicate the objective.
A clearly planned goal for the meeting will set the tone and determine the direction of your time together. If your topic requires brainstorming, prepare each attendee with the information they may need in advance and ask them to arrive with a list of ideas or discussion points.
2. Make sure the meeting is necessary.
While you might think of meetings as a quick way to touch base, think through the opportunity cost. If you and your team weren’t in the meeting and were using that time to accomplish other tasks, would that be more impactful? If so, an email or IM might be a better option.
3. Include the right people.
While including more people to meetings can offer broader perspectives, it can also be counterproductive. The most effective meetings involve the key stakeholders to ensure decisions can be made and acted upon quickly. Too many people involved in the meetings can lead those who are not key stakeholders to feel like they were unable to contribute or that their time was squandered.
We see this a lot in smaller work teams where leaders include everyone in every meeting. It’s okay to have a targeted audience for a meeting. For example, a meeting with only those responsible for sales, or only those involved in customer care, or only those involved in a specific project or event.
4. Schedule thoughtfully.
Being strategic about meeting times and durations will help each attendee be more engaged. Avoiding Monday mornings and Friday afternoons may be a must or planning the meeting when your flexible, remote, or part-time team members can be in attendance. You should also set a time limit and stick to it. Meetings that drag on past their time allotment cause attendees to lose patience and focus. The most productive meetings should start on time and end on time. Lastly, once it is scheduled, make it happen. Don’t make the mistake of blowing off the meeting due to busyness or letting a conflict get in the way.
5. Stick to the agenda.
Sticking to the agenda is important for many reasons. It’s important to not leave the most important topics for last. To ensure that the highest priority objectives are met, discuss the most pertinent issues first. This can be managed by sticking to the agenda. That way, if someone needs to step away or leave the meeting early, you will still have accomplished your main goals. The agenda should act as a framework to keep everyone on topic and to maintain the meeting's flow. Make sure everyone leaves the meeting knowing what the next steps are who is responsible for each action item.
Following these tips will help your organization accomplish more productive meetings, increasing engagement and accomplishment among your team. And if you’re interested in cultivating an energizing and healthy team culture, communicating effectively, developing talent, keeping everyone engaged and accountable, and growing results, check out our Future Legacy Partners program offering.
Wishing you and your team productive meetings,