“Meetings are indispensable when you do not want to do anything” – John Kenneth Gallbraith
“A meeting is an event at which the minutes are kept and the hours are lost” –Unknown
Everyone involved in the corporate world has experienced attending a meeting on a regular basis—from various digital marketing agencies with seo consulting services to big retail conglomerates, meetings are essential in communicating what is working and what is not in a company. These are also incredibly effective in keeping every single person involved in your project or in your company updated on a particular job’s progress. It streamlines tasks and tackles pivotal points during every discussion. When various people convene to deliberate on imperative issues, critical and salient points, only then can they come up with an amiable solution to whatever is being discussed and once the minutes are recorded, people involved or absent can actually go over whatever is resolved during the discourse. However, this is only one side of the coin as more often than not, this common interruption of work is also one of the guaranteed ways to waste company time.
More often than not, people can go off tangent, deviate from the original discussion and are more often than not, incredibly tedious—most especially if a corporate member drones on and on about a soporific subject. When this occurs, not only would the meetings take longer than usual, they will become virtually useless and the time designated for it could have been appropriated for something else—like accomplishing one’s tasks for the day. Of course, we cannot eliminate holding meetings perpetually as these are also essential discussions that would open every employee’s communication pathway.This is why there is a pressing need for people conducting meetings to hold them wisely instead of eradicating meetings altogether. So, if you are planning to hold a meeting soon, take a look at the list below in order for you to find new ways to not only hold your meetings efficiently and productively, but to add a little fun into the mix as well.
HAVE A CLEAR AGENDA OF WHAT YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE BY THE END OF THE MEETING
Conducting a meeting without an agenda is like coming to battle without gear and weapons, it essentially translates to you being unprepared. Additionally, holding meetings without a clear agenda can easily make the people involved in the meeting veer off the topic at hand and would reduce what would be a corporate discussion to office-room chitchat. Outlining your agenda for the day’s meeting would help people involved come into your meeting fully prepared with their discussions. To ensure optimal results, start with an outline of topics to be discussed and make sure that all of the attendees are furnished with these a day before the scheduled meeting and provide the necessary background information for everyone’s convenience.
CONSIDER YOUR ATTENDEES
Before you call out a meeting, contemplate and take time to consider who are pivotal to the course of the meeting. If a supervisory personnel can attend in his employees stead then do just that instead of having the both of them attend the meeting. After all, supervisors and managers can relay the salient points of the meeting and delegate tasks to those under them and doing it this way would effectively give the employee uninterrupted time to finish his tasks. In essence, invite only people who would be directly involved with your announcement or discussion—do not invite any more than necessary.
GO DEVICE FREE
Consider banning tablets and smartphones during meetings unless they are completely necessary to the course of your meetings as this will only diminish your attendees’ attention span and would distract you from your primary objective. Remember, your gadgets are teeming with things that could potentially distract you from emails, notifications to phone calls—all these would make a meeting last longer should any one of your attendees attend to them.
STICK TO THE TIMETABLE CREATED
Once an agenda is laid out, cover everything in the meeting according to the time you have allotted for them. Do not spend more time than necessary on a singular item and end up extending your meetings for another half an hour or so, make an accurate timetable and stick to it. Additionally, it would help your attendees focus if you conduct your meetings this way, so it would be best if you email it to them in advance. This direct way of tackling meetings would effectually eradicate potentialoff-topic discussions and small talk that derails imperative discussions during the meeting.
ASSIGN A MEETING CHIEF
The person selected for this role will act as the meetings leader and would oversee the progress of a meeting. Select a meeting chief who you are sure is comfortable in setting up the meeting, is goal oriented and would actually do a great job at keeping the meeting on track. Additionally, choose someone who is well-versed on the salient issues or pertinent discussions to be deliberated during the meeting. Lastly, your meeting leader should be someone who is equally trusted and respected by the attendees and the team.
TAKE IT OUTSIDE
Whoever said that meetings need to be constrained within the four walls of your office? This inhibiting notion can cause many of your attendees to nod off or completely doze off during the course of your meetings. If there are no paper works involved, consider taking your discourse at the company garden outside or at a local café but be warned, make sure the place you choose has minimal distractions and would still be conducive for company meetings.
There might be a person to take the minutes of the meeting, but they cannot necessarily jot down every relevant point made during the meeting and more often than not, this point may concern you. Jot down your own notes as this will serve as a record for you and will enable you to inquire further or to have a point elaborated on particular assignments that involve you. Additionally, take notes the traditional way: by using a pen and a paper pad or a notebook. This will effectively lessen the temptation to have multiple tabs open while typing down notes and helps you digest what is being gone over better (it also keeps the noise level during a meeting at a minimum).
USE THE LAST FEW MINUTES TO RECAP
To make sure you and your attendees are on the same page, it is essential that before you close every meeting, you gloss over what has been discussed during the previous hour or so. This is also the time for further elaborations and inquiries and it effectively wraps up a meeting. Make sure everyone understands what they are expected to do and when they are reasonably expected to do it and have everyone leave the room in complete comprehension over just what has transpired during your meeting.
If you conduct your meetings wisely, you would see how they can be very effective and productive. Additionally, holding smarter meetings expedites the delegation of tasks process as every attendee is not only aware of what he or she has to do, but understands the nature of what is expected of them as well. Remember, meetings may be a bane or boon, it all largely depends on the person conducting it.