Whether we like them or not, meetings are a large part of everyone’s day-to-day activities. When you’re taking the time to gather the entire team, it’s important to focus on increasing productivity by optimizing the time you have together. If you’re having trouble mobilizing your team, consider following these best practices for effective meetings:
Before the Meeting
Have a clear, organized agenda. People should know exactly what to expect before going into the meeting. You may be surprised by how many meetings begin with no real purpose and leave people feeling as if they’ve just wasted part of their day. Send out an agenda to each team member. Make sure it allocates time for project presentations, brainstorming, problem solving, and whatever else you may need. Make the meeting’s purpose clear so people know what topics are up for discussion.
Set a precedent of staying punctual. One of the best ways to ensure a productive meeting is staying consistent and punctual. If your team knows you start and end your meetings on time, they will be more likely to show the same respect and be timely themselves. There’s nothing worse than sitting around waiting to start the conference due to someone’s tardiness. Request that people arrive five minutes early and if needed, outline how long they have to discuss their projects.
During the Meeting
Follow the agenda. If you’ve gone to the trouble of outlining discussion topics, make sure to follow the guidelines you’ve set. If you’ve allotted 15 minutes of brainstorming for the first item, try not to linger on it much longer than that. People will be more energized when they see that you’re sticking to the plan and you’re ready to keep moving.
Take note of other issues. There’s bound to be a point when the conversation deviates from the main discussion topic. This is okay to a certain degree, but don’t be sidetracked for long. Acknowledge the points that have been brought up by taking note of them in the meeting’s minutes, then move on.
End with a plan. Allocate time in your meeting agenda to discuss a concrete action plan. Delegate tasks to specific people and determine due dates. By the meeting’s conclusion, each person should know exactly what is expected of them and when it’s expected to be completed.
After the Meeting
Follow up. We can’t stress the importance of this enough! Even if you had a lively, productive meeting, that doesn’t mean the work ends when the group disperses. Talking with your team at the start of the week means getting in contact again by the end of it. Use this as a way to check in on the progress of projects that were assigned during the meeting. Following up shows your team you’re organized and taking an active role in their work.
Take the time to evaluate your meeting habits and pay attention to areas that need improved. Before you know it, you’ll be executing productive, efficient meetings that leave your team feeling energized and motivated.