Meetings … loved by some, hated by many. Why? Because they can turn into gab-fests that go off-track and waste people’s time.
When you consider the combined hourly rate of everyone in the room, calling meetings can be an expensive exercise . You want to make darn sure you get a result from the time together, whether it be a decision made, a problem solved, valuable information shared, or the team inspired.
If you don’t need to discuss a topic with the whole group, simply send an email or catch up with the individual concerned. Save your meetings for other group-necessary discussions.
Here are 5 Must-Do Meeting Tips
Be clear on your purpose for each agenda item
What outcome are you looking for? Decide in advance what you want people to do as a result discussing the agenda item. Do you want the team to make a decision, solve a problem, have input to an idea? If something can be handled outside the meeting, take it off the agenda. No point sharing information at a meeting that could just have easily been emailed to the group.
Determine your time-frame for each agenda item
Often, too many items are placed on the agenda, leaving not enough time to discuss any of them. Be realistic about how long it will take to overview the agenda item, discuss the result you’re looking for, and open up to the room for discussion. It gets confusing to have a lot of half-finished conversations that need to be revisited at a later meeting. Much better to have fewer items on the agenda, with richer discussion that leads to a concrete action or clear implementation.
Start on time
If you wait for people to arrive, and revisit items for those who come in after the bell, you’re rewarding the behaviour of being late. Instead, reward the people who’ve respectfully turned up on time by starting on time. Let the people who arrive late catch up the missed information in their own time. I remember a new manager having his first team meeting, all of whom dribbled in late, in line with their team culture. The manager announced that he ran his meetings to time and all future meetings would start on time. At the next meeting, his team followed their habitual behaviour of turning up late. But the manager had already started the meeting, on time, and as they walked in, he carried on without revisiting information already covered. Action items were allocated at his discretion to the missing members. It was the last time the team members turned up late.
Consider a standing meeting
If your Monday meeting is your rev up for the week, it doesn’t need to be long. When people sit around a table, they settle in for the long haul, and the brain can go into doze mode. Instead, have a standing meeting. This type of huddle meeting is effective to keep the energy high and a sense of flow – people don’t like to be standing for too long.
Finish on time
Team members need to know when they can start scheduling appointments after the meeting. If the meeting habitually runs overtime, not only will team members be less enthusiastic about coming to meetings, they’ll also start to push out appointments booked after the team meeting, impacting negatively on both their productivity and morale. This is why it’s imperative to determine an accurate time-frame for each agenda item.
That’s it. Short and sweet. Enough reading for now. Time to head off to your meeting … on time.