We’ve all been there – sitting in a meeting, fighting to stay focused, and wondering why this information wasn’t just sent in an email. Meetings allow for in-person communication and can be an avenue for open discussions, opinions, and more, but not all meetings feel necessary, especially in hindsight. Before setting up your next meeting, strive to increase its efficiency and purpose, and make the most out of everyone’s time by following these key tips.
Ask yourself: what do I want to accomplish? What is the purpose of this meeting? Once you’ve established your objective, put together an agenda. The agenda should include a description of the meeting and the topics you’ll be covering, as well as any background information participants should know before coming into the meeting.
During the meeting, be sure to follow the agenda and stay on track. It’s also important for you to keep the group on topic and know how to appropriately stop someone who is talking more than their fair share. Remind everyone that there will be time for questions and discussion at the end.
Before sending the calendar invite, consider who you’re inviting to the meeting. Think about which employees truly need to be involved. When people attend meetings that aren’t relevant to them, they can view their attendance as a waste of valuable work time. People appreciate when you understand that their time is valuable. So really think about who could benefit from the information being presented.
It’s important to get input from your staff as to what they think works well, and what needs improvement. Take the last few minutes of the meeting to answer any questions and discuss opinions.
It’s also a good idea to send a follow-up email to your staff. People tend to leave meetings with different interpretations of what was discussed. Take a minute to write down any responsibilities, tasks, or deadlines that were assigned and make sure everyone is on the same page.
Try to avoid meetings that can be covered in a brief email, memo, or report. It’s important to differentiate between the need for one-way communication and two-way sharing. If you’re simply informing employees of new policies, changes in the department, status updates, etc. there is really no need to formally meet as a group. However, when the topic at hand could benefit from sharing ideas and discussing opinions, then a short meeting is best.
Meetings aren’t always a crowd favorite, but are in fact necessary. The key is to have well-prepared meetings, involving all the right people.