Managing Meetings Effectively

Managing Meetings Effectively

Regardless of the size of you workplace, the power to plan and implement effective meetings will set you apart from the pack. The ability to realize when to not have meetings will help you even more.

Many meetings are useless. They lack purpose and ultimately results. Yours don’t have to. It doesn’t matter if you’re planning to meet with the board of directors, a group of interns, or the guys who manage your merchandising, planning and executing your meeting correctly will solve future problems and waste less time than nearly every meeting maker out there. Do it right and see a lot of results, now and later.

First decide if you even need to have a meeting. You’ll find that more often than not, you don’t. To figure it out ask yourself a few questions.  Am I just providing updates? Do I simply have a question that needs to be answered? If the answer is yes to either of those questions you can accomplish your goals through email without wasting anyone else’s precious time. And all time during the workday is precious.

If you’re doing more than just asking a question or updating your team, ask yourself who really needs to be involved in the decision making process. If some members are not absolutely necessary, update them via email and let them work. Include only those who need to be included.

Once you’ve set up a meeting and decided on the invite list, get your prep done. Never go into a meeting thinking that ideas will just flow. They won’t. Your job is as a facilitator, moving the agenda in the right direction. To help your cause, sent out prep materials beforehand. Include background information and what goals should be accomplished in the meeting. This allows participants to think on their own time and will make the meeting

Once the meeting is set make sure your team knows you mean business. Schedule meetings for odd times. When a meeting is set for 9:36 people know the meeting will start at 9:36. No exceptions. This takes the constant tardiness out of the equation.

When meeting time comes ask people how prepared they are. Get honest answers too. It doesn’t help anyone to sit in a meeting with people who aren’t ready. It’s frustrating and unproductive. If people haven’t prepared reschedule and let them take the meeting time to get up to speed.

Finally, as you wrap things up, don’t let people escape without action items. Duties should be assigned as the meeting ends. If people don’t have tasks assigned they will often let the meeting slip out of their minds. By making them active participants and providing a blueprint going forward, productivity will increase. Once at the comfort of your desk send out the concrete ideas via email so your team has a reference point and ideas don’t dissipate.

By knowing when to organize a meeting, who to invite, and how to prepare and execute it, you’ll be able to foster productivity. Ending with action items and following up will keep that productivity long after your team is back at work.

About author

Michael Barry
Michael Barry 31 posts

Michael Barry is the Editor-In-Chief at AgeOfTheSmallBusiness.com. Currently living in Boston, Massachusetts, he received his B.A. in Financial Economics from St. Anselm College and his MFA in Creative Writing from the Stonecoast Program at the University of Southern Maine.

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