There is nothing special about the average meeting. Just about anyone can schedule a meeting, but some people show up and tune out the message. In fact, the majority of employees are adamant that way too many meetings occur. The bottom line is most meetings have become ineffective. Even if you are adamant that your meetings are of the highest-quality, you can still benefit from implementing the following tips:
There Should Be a Legitimate Reason for Every Meeting
Too many managers call regular meetings as a means of justifying their position on the corporate totem pole. Meetings also serve as an opportunity to justify managers’ lofty salaries by providing an authoritative platform to direct others. But over an abundance of meetings is a mistake as these gatherings inevitably alienate everyone beneath the manager. There should be an excellent reason to pull everyone away from their desks to meet in a communal space. If the meeting’s goal(s) can be accomplished with an email, instant message, phone call or a quick online meeting in a virtual meeting space, opt for one of these more efficient methods.
Publicize the Meeting’s Agenda at Least One Day Ahead of Time
Do not keep the meeting agenda a secret! Effective leaders share as much information as possible so meeting participants are fully prepared to discuss the nuances of the pertinent topic(s). Be specific when explaining the meeting agenda. Do not use generic words like “information” when describing the meeting agenda. Devote at least a few sentences or paragraphs to describing the purpose of the meeting so participants can properly prepare and establish expectations.
Do Not Invite Everyone!
Highly effective meetings include those who are critical to the matters of discussion. Do not invite administrators, clerks and others who are not essential to the meeting’s subject matter. Key in on individuals who will actually benefit from listening to the matters discussed in the meeting and participating in those discussions. It is also worth noting that an over-populated meeting will likely last much longer than originally planned. Each additional meeting participant makes the event that much more complicated and lengthy.
Ask for Feedback
A meeting should not be a monologue. At the same time, they should not be lengthy discussions either. The best meetings are a mix of dialogue and the leader’s monologue(s). Encourage active participation, especially in the final portion of the meeting. Devote at least five minutes for attendees to raise concerns, ask questions, etc. Do not give participants an unlimited amount of time to make closing remarks, raise inquiries or pose concerns. People are much more straightforward when they are forced to explain themselves in a small window of time.
Skip The Lengthy Meeting Recap
If employees expect an extensive meeting recap, many will tune out the meeting or completely skip it. Consolidate the meeting’s points of discussion in an easy-to-understand recap that doesn’t require a significant amount of time to absorb. Make it crystal clear that invited employees must attend the meeting. Some managers find it prudent to not provide a meeting recap in order to persuade employees to show up and pay close attention during the event. If you are absolutely insistent on providing a recap, limit it to specific action items. The recap should communicate exactly what was decided, the actions that will bring the meeting subject matter to fruition, which employees will perform those actions and the point in time they will be performed.