Meetings are supposed to help you move forward with your project or toward your goals. But, with how frequent and unproductive most meetings are, employees now dread having them. They don’t want to attend since it interrupts their work, which results in less engaged and eventually, another unproductive and ineffective meeting—costing you a lot of money. So, how can you make meetings more effective?
How to make meetings more effective
Is the meeting really necessary?
Many meetings turn out to be unnecessary. You want to organize a meeting for a certain purpose, but to deliver the things that you want to say, is a meeting really necessary? Ask yourself the following:
- Can you accomplish your objective for having a meeting in other forms such as circulating a memo or talking one by one to the concerned parties?
- Is having a meeting on the date really necessary or can you postpone it for another time?
If the meeting is not necessary, don’t hold it. This way, you’ll be saving your and the others’ time. If the meeting is necessary, make sure that only those needed in the meeting will come. Otherwise, you’re just inconveniencing the others by taking them away from the things they need to do.
Create and stick to your agenda
To make meetings more effective, create an agenda. An agenda will guide you on the topics that you need to discuss. It will also help you stay away from distractions. Make a list of all the things needed to be covered in the meeting, and if applicable, the person who should address each item. And then, distribute the agenda at least a day before the agreed date. This way, the participants in the meeting can prepare and know what they’re expected to contribute.
Be on time
If you set a meeting from 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM, stick to it. Start at eight and ends at nine. Also, when you set a meeting, don’t just set when it’ll start. One of the worst types of meetings is when you know when it’ll begin but not when it’ll end.
Another tip is to not wait for latecomers. Assume that those who are late are not coming at all, and start. If the latecomers miss something, you can always brief them on what they missed and give them the minutes of the meeting, but you can’t bring back the time you wasted waiting for them.
For each item that you have thoroughly discussed and had derived a solution for, summarize the conclusion. Before you move on to the next item on your agenda, repeat what has been agreed for the previous item—things to be done and who’ll do it. This refreshes the memory of the participants and also concludes the topic, allowing you to start anew with the next one.
Keep notes and distribute minutes
Documenting points made in a meeting and distributing them within 24 hours are very good practices to make meetings more effective. It helps the participants remember the discussions and serves as “evidence” for responsibilities and accountabilities. And, should conflict or misunderstanding rise sometime after the meeting, the minutes could be pulled out and help resolve those.
Meetings don’t have to be a dread for you and your employees. The key to ensuring that the meetings are not a waste of time is to make it more effective.