Meetings are a critical activity, yet most people complain that meetings are boring, unproductive and a waste of time, money and energy. The good news is, you can eradicate you bad meeting habits and learn to avoid the common pitfalls! Soon you’ll be looking forward to these productive opportunities for mutual learning and decision making. Effective meetings really are time well spent!
Effective Meetings Guide
No one likes to waste time in meetings. What you can do before a meeting to increase the effectiveness and productivity of your meeting?
What can you do before your meeting?
Create an agenda! Make sure it has a clear purpose and pertinent discussion points. You can also send it out before the meeting to the people who will be in attendance then you’ll be able to gather valuable input before the meeting.
What can you do during the meeting?
Always start and finish your meetings on time and stick to planned break times and durations as well. Consider standing during the meeting to help keep it short and ban cell phones and other small non-essential electronic devices to keep everyone focused. Keep different portions of the meeting timed and stay on task and on topic.
What can you do after the meeting?
Consider adopting multiple meeting structures for example a short daily check-in and a weekly tactical meeting. Always be considerate of others when scheduling and planning.
Quick Tip: Meeting with New People
Has this happened to you? You go to a meeting with a group of people you’ve not met before or you’ve only met virtually. At the start of the meeting there is a quick round of introductions. Awhile later, either at or after the meeting, you find yourself wondering, “What is the name of the person who sat next to me?”
Many people have a hard time remembering names. Wearing a nametag sometimes feels silly, especially if you’re having your meeting in a public space like a coffee shop. But wouldn’t it still be nice to have a reminder of someone’s name?
I attended a meeting recently in a coffee shop with a group that typically works together virtually. As a group we didn’t have a strong sense of which names belonged to what faces. We adopted a very low-tech and highly effective way to identify meeting participants. We used Post-It Notes as name cards. We each wrote our names on the sticky side of the Post-It Note. Then we folded the cards so that the sticky part stuck onto the tabletop and the name displayed standing up so others could see.
Repeatedly tying names to faces over the course of the meeting assured I had a keen sense for who was who when we left. Sometimes the key to increasing our effectiveness and productivity is a low-tech solution.