Ineffective meetings can derail people’s productivity even after the meeting is over. Studies show “meeting recovery syndrome” where attendees lose work time while they mentally recover from a bad meeting that happens to a lot of people.
On the other hand, an effective meeting brings a group of people together for a specific purpose, provides a chance for open discussion, and delivers a tangible result. Effective meetings stay on topic and use people’s time and energy well.
Here are some simple ways to help you run an effective meeting :
Define a purpose for the meeting
First of all, think about whether you actually need to meet.. Deciding what does and doesn’t need an actual meeting can be tricky. It’s common to think that we need to check in with people by holding meetings. A meeting also involves reaching a certain outcome.
You don’t need a meeting to broadcast information. You can just send them an email or use a messaging app to let them know of this information.
If you want to resolve a conflict or issue, discuss a company crisis, or want to collaborate on a team project, then a meeting is definitely needed.
Create an agenda
People will feel more comfortable if they know what the meeting is for and the flow of the meeting. To do this, you need to create an agenda. This should include action items, venue, start and end time, and the people involved.
Invite only the necessary people
Think about the purpose of the meeting and the people who need to be involved. If the purpose of the meeting is related to hiring, invite the head of HR. If the meeting is about data breach and network security, invite the head of IT.
Only people who are directly connected to the problem and the expected outcome should attend the meeting. This will save a lot of other people’s time and energy. Inviting only the people involved also means less interruptions and distractions.
Use ground rules
Ground rules are set so everyone knows how to act during the meeting and what is permitted for them to do. Ground rules that are properly communicated and enforced will take care of dysfunctional meeting behavior. Customize your ground rules to the meeting at hand. Ground rules should be clearly stated and agreed upon at the start of the meeting.
Review and summarize the meeting
During the last ten to fifteen minutes of the meeting, review the decisions made and actions that need to be done. Summarize everything that was discussed. A clear understanding between the attendees and the purpose of the meeting must be met before ending the meeting. This gives everyone an equal opportunity to express questions, or to share information that is relevant to the topic.
People have a life outside of work and some of them have a long to-do list. They can’t remember everything if it’s not written down or if it’s not visible to them. This is why it is also important to send a follow-up email with the minutes of the meeting to ensure that people will remember what was discussed.
Ask for evaluation
Not a lot of people enjoy the idea of meetings and most of them will not voice their problems when asked directly. Sending an evaluation sheet will allow them to share their opinions, suggestions, and feedback which you can use to improve future meetings.
Does your company need help to improve the effectiveness of meetings? Contact us and we will set you up with the training you need to turn meetings into an area of strength that improves the profitability of your company.