Meetings are a necessary evil. Nobody likes them but without them, organisations would fall apart. I, myself, have been part of countless meetings and trust me when I say that many of them were adjourned without actually accomplishing anything. The meetings go on and on, projecting in every direction but the actual problem at hand is not resolved and they end up being a complete waste of time.
You know it’s a bad meeting when employees are stealthy using their cell phones to text someone or playing some Candy Crush-like game. You don’t want to hold that kind of meeting, do you? Well, here are a few tips to run a successful and time-efficient meeting that will actually hold people’s attention.
1- A Trip Down Memory Lane:
If you are leading a meeting, chances are that you have been part of many meetings before as a general attendee. Some of those meetings must have been bad, right? Remember what exactly it was that annoyed you. Was it the way the leading person spoke? Was it the overall environment? Or was it the time it took to actually get to the task at hand? Whatever they were, make a list of those things so you know exactly what to avoid when conducting your next meeting.
2- Be Precise About The Objective:
When you are thinking about calling a meeting and before you send out a calendar invite to everybody involved, think really hard about what you want to accomplish through this meeting. Is the meeting really necessary? Or would a simple announcement do? If it would, are the people you are inviting really needed to be there? Or can you cut down the list of attendees a little bit? Fewer people invited would mean less time wasted due to tardiness and it would be easier to stick to the proposed subject matter.
3- Make Preparations:
Spread out the agenda and reading material for the meeting to all the attendees at least a day before the meeting. Also, attach a notice reminding people to come prepared and not to be late. This way you can get straight to the point without wasting precious time explaining the agenda all over.
4- Don’t Wait Around for People:
The whole purpose of scheduling a time for a meeting is to make sure everybody is present at the same time. Your job is to start the meeting on the scheduled time without delay, even if someone is late. Nobody likes to walk in on an ongoing meeting and embarrass himself by disturbing everyone. If you do this every time you run a meeting, you will make a reputation of being punctual and people will try to follow your example as well.
5- Hold Stand up Meetings:
If you need to run meetings often and they tend to take up a lot of time, try implementing stand up meetings. According to surveys and studies, stand up meetings tend to be quicker and effective without compromising the quality of discussion. The only thing missing would be the comfort that comes with sitting in a chair, which is exactly why these meetings are much better.
Remember, the kind of meetings you run is reflective of your leadership qualities. These tips will help you hold valuable meetings that will actually accomplish a lot. These tips are not always easy to put in practice but if executed effectively they will make a world of difference and you will actually get things done.
If you also want to decrease the time wasted scheduling your meetings you can try out meeting scheduling software Plann3r for free or check out our blog post “Should I start saving time using a meeting scheduling tool”.