How to Make Your Meetings More Effective
We’ve all been a part of ineffective or inefficient meetings. Maybe the agenda is unclear, maybe people are not listening, or maybe there are no decisions made. Not only do these types of meetings get on people nerves, but these inefficient meetings are costly. In fact, the cost of poorly organized meetings is estimated to be $399 billion in the U.S. in 2018. What can you do to ensure that your meeting does not waste time and money? Here we list some tips to help make the most out of your meetings.
Plan for the meeting
1) Have a clear purpose
It is imperative to have a rationale for why you are setting the meeting. A survey found that only 11% of Americans feel their meeting leaders have a compelling plan for the meeting. No one likes to feel that they are wasting their time - ensure there is a reason for meeting with your employees.
Not only should the purpose of the meeting be well defined, but the appropriate audience should be invited as well. Get the right people in the room by inviting only those people you believe will help you get the information and results you need. If you believe someone probably won’t be actively participating, the meeting is probably a waste of time for them.
"Two thirds of professionals believe that the meetings they attend are unnecessary." - Doodle, The State of Meetings Report 2019
2) Create and share an agenda before the meeting starts
Clear agendas drive efficient and successful meetings. Only 37% of U.S. meetings use agendas. People cannot come prepared to a meeting if they do not know what to expect. The agenda clarifies the purpose of the meeting, topics of discussion, and sets up the expectations for the meeting. Send the agenda at least 24 hours before the start of the meeting to ensure that everyone comes prepared.
3) Make it remote friendly
Ensure that anyone that cannot be physically present has the appropriate means to connect into the meeting. Encourage them to connect a couple of minutes before the start of the meeting. If your team is completely remote, make sure to establish expectations and proper etiquette for your remote meetings.
Run an effective meeting
1) Make sure you and everyone else is prepared
Don't waste meeting time hooking up equipment, checking connections, or looking for files on your laptop if these tasks can be completed before the meeting.
2) Stick to the agenda and focus on results
Avoid the urge to address any new issues that are not on the agenda. People will appreciate your efforts to conduct an efficient meeting that ends on time or earlier than scheduled. Make sure to write down any off-line discussions to be discussed for a later time. Bottom line: start on time, end on time, and stay on topic.
3) Take notes
Taking notes keeps everyone accountable after the meeting. Document the action plans and any work assigned to individuals. Send the meeting minutes to the attendees after the meeting so everyone has it in their records.
4) Be inclusive
Make sure everyone listens. Over a third of Americans feel that meeting leaders are poor at including participants’ input during meetings. More over, nothing feels more like a waste of time than when you are talking to distracted or disengaged people. Make sure to acknowledge individuals input and contributions. Encourage attendees to put away their phone or laptops while others are talking.
5) Assign the next meeting
Were there off-topic items that were brought up in the meeting that did not get addressed? Do you need to meet with the team before a certain deadline? Make sure to assign the next meeting to address the next steps.
6) Ask for feedback after the meeting
Make it a habit for the presenter to be given feedback after the meeting. This will help sustain your feedback culture, but it will more importantly help improve the presenter's performance. Ensure that employees have an easy way to share feedback (i.e., invest in a simple continuous feedback tool that can help document feedback).
What are your thoughts? What do you do to make your meetings more efficient?