5 Tips for Holding Successful Meetings
If your company meetings haven’t been as productive as you might like, the problem could lie in a number of common mistakes. Consider these tips before, during, and after your meetings to ensure that all participants get out of each meeting what you put into them.
1. Make Sure the Topic Warrants a Formal Meeting
Most of us have seen those blue ribbons floating around social media that read, “I survived a meeting that should have been an email.” Sitting in conference rooms eats up huge chunks of an employee’s day, so make sure the meeting you’re planning actually requires a formal get-together before you schedule it.
If you only need a short answer to a question, stop by your coworker’s desk and ask in person or send an email. You may also want to incorporate small, casual meeting spaces for impromptu chats between just a few employees. This will provide designated areas for coworkers to meet at a moment’s notice to discuss something that may only require 10 or 15 minutes of talking time.
2. Make Sure All Participants Are Relevant to the Topic
On the same wavelength, only invite relevant participants to your meetings. Filling a conference room with excess people will hinder productivity. Rather than inviting a whole team to a given meeting, you may want to invite one team member and have them relay action items to others in the group. Who you invite to your meetings will largely depend on the topic and who it affects, but remember that more is not always merrier when it comes to meetings.
3. Stay on Topic
It can be very easy to go off topic in a meeting—especially with many participants. If you are the organizer, you may want to set an agenda and distribute it the day before to prevent off-topic conversations. This will keep everyone on the same page and provide an easy outline for everything that needs to be discussed in the allotted time.
4. Keep an Eye on the Clock
The first step toward good time management during a meeting is scheduling it for the appropriate amount of time. Although you don’t want to waste time by scheduling a meeting for too long of a time slot, you also want to make sure your expectations for how long a meeting will take are realistic—don’t try to do too much in a small amount of time. Stay aware of what time it is throughout the meeting so you can cover everything you want to within the given time.
5. Wrap up Effectively
When you bring your meeting to a close, make action steps for each participant clear, ensuring that everyone understands what to take away when they return to their desks. For larger meetings, you may want to email participants a summary of what was discussed and what action steps are needed. Be sure to give clear directions, not suggestions, and provide deadlines whenever possible.