To borrow a famous thought from Tolstoy and rephrase it for the purposes of this topic, all good meetings are alike, but each bad meeting is bad in its own way. The former are productive and efficient, while the latter often leads to an entire array of issues and wreak havoc on your schedule and your team’s sense of motivation. Instead of trying to focus on the damage done, you can transform your meetings at the office and off-site to be more purposeful, goal-driven, and employee-centric.
Allowing your meetings to become a contributing factor to your overall organizational efficiency will help improve your workplace as a whole, and it will inspire your employees not to dread the Monday morning conference calls. These meetings define your business culture, help forge better employee relationships, and they serve as a reflection of your brand’s values.
To help you make the most of your meetings moving forward, we’ve compiled some of the most effective strategies for improving your meetings. Let’s see what you can do to give your professional get-togethers that productive edge and develop your business even more.
Set up and share the agenda beforehand
In order for your team members to be productive and to contribute to a meeting, they need to know what the meeting will be all about. If you’re running the meeting this time, make sure that you set up a clear set of goals and an agenda for the upcoming meeting. If someone else is calling the shots, invite them to do the same.
Then you can share your agenda via your cloud platform or send it via email for everyone to prepare properly beforehand. Make sure your agenda includes a clear timeframe for each issue you wish to discuss, and to leave a timeslot for creative exchanges or questions.
Reevaluate the need for meetings
Very often, business leaders organize meetings purely out of habit. What’s a Monday without a team call, right? Although these meetings might be helpful to an extent, perhaps not every single one is necessary.
- Evaluate if the topic you want to discuss requires a meeting, or if it can be covered in a quick phone call, or an email.
- Check with your employees – maybe some of them find it helpful to have fewer meetings during the week, but instead, want to get a written agenda via email or their project management tool.
- If you’re having a meeting at the office, stand up! It will make sure everyone will say what they need to say quickly and concisely. This will make your meetings more efficient and productive.
Use an automatic calendar for scheduling
To simplify scheduling one-on-one meetings for reviews, onboarding, performance evaluations, and any other topic, you should use a scheduling tool that will help you manage your schedule and your time effectively. It allows you to avoid back and forth emailing with individual employees since you can share your calendar with them for them to book an appropriate time slot with you at their earliest convenience.
Automating your scheduling process in this way saves plenty of time on irrelevant correspondences, but it also helps you stay on track with different meeting agendas. You’ll be better prepared for every remote and on-site meeting as a result.
Leverage tech to make meetings more effective
To make your meetings more productive, you also need to make them more engaging. Using the right presentation software and analytics tools to follow can help you keep your meetings in line with your goals, but also track how these meetings are evolving and what you can change to make them better.
With good video conferencing software and audio-visual tools, your meeting room solution can be engaging both for your on-site attendees and those joining you remotely. Make sure that, in addition to cutting-edge conferencing tools, you have a stable internet connection to match. This is essential to make sure your participants can hear and see everything and take part without any interruptions or technical difficulties.
Choose your attendees wisely
Inviting everyone is not really as productive as it might seem right off the bat. If your company counts dozens of employees from various departments, it’s time to reevaluate who among them will benefit from the meeting and who can genuinely contribute.
Ask yourself for every single employee: does this person need to attend this weekly meeting? If there isn’t a clear need, make sure they can spend that hour doing something better.
Keep distractions at bay
Most meetings are bombarded by distractions, no matter if you’re taking your call from home or if you have your entire team huddled together in your office conference room. This is where proper time management skills come in very handy, since you need to avoid and eliminate any distractions to keep your meetings efficient and on-point.
- Turn off your phone’s ringtone and notifications for the duration of the meeting.
- Ideally, put away your phone and other devices you’re not using during the meeting – more often than not, attendees get distracted even if the phone merely lights up without the notification sound.
- Use apps like LeechBlock to keep away from websites and apps that drain your schedule every day, your meetings included. That way, you won’t even have the chance to use your private Facebook account when someone else is talking.
Leave the meeting with a clear action plan
A meeting is completely productive only when you’re prepared to list clear, time-bound weekly or daily goals based on what has been shared during the meeting. If you’ve spent an hour exchanging ideas without landing on a solution, your meeting has been organized in vain. That’s why it is essential to leave the final few minutes of every meeting to create a clear to-do list for all those involved.
What’s more, you can also ask someone to send a follow-up email to all attendees, listing the goals for the day or the week ahead. That way, your team members will always be attentive and take their own notes to make sure they can contribute to the list by the end of your meeting.
Soon enough, you’ll weed out unnecessary meetings that can be replaced by a simple phone call or an email, and you’ll run more effective professional meetings every single day. What’s more, following these steps means you’re relying on a formula to help you improve your meetings consistently, every time. It’s a learning process and it means you’ll always be able to refine how you devise the agenda, choose attendees, and leverage the tech. Now you’re equipped to handle it all!