When was the last time you were in an efficient meeting? When did you last walk out of the room thinking, “Wow! That was the best use of time, ever!” Whether the organizer or a participant, use the following tips to boost effectiveness.
Know why you are meeting. Are you meeting to share information, or develop policy, or educate, or implement a complex project, or socialize? Every participant needs to know and focus on the purpose of the meeting well in advance.
- Get on topic and stay on topic. Unless you are meeting solely to socialize, save the stories about your golf game, vacation, and the latest joke you heard until after the meeting.
- Have a timed agenda, distributed in advance, and stick to it. If you have urgent topics emerging at the last minute, schedule the last 15 to 30 minutes for urgent topics. If there are none, end the meeting early.
- Start on time, end on time. Do not backtrack for latecomers.
- Summarize and move on. Rehashing the same comments wastes time. Once a point has been heard, keep moving.
- For each agenda item, document decisions, actions needed, the responsible person, and a deadline. Review this at the next meeting.
- Focus on the meeting. Use electronics for meeting-related uses only, or ban them completely. You cannot make a 100% contribution to the group with 50% of your attention.
Meetings are a critical part of business. Plan, focus, and make your meetings the best use of everyone’s time! Click here to get the agenda template, and contact us for more information on time management and business innovation.