Have you ever left a meeting that felt like a complete waste of time? Whether a manager or an employee, a meeting allows you to share ideas and information, collaborate with your colleagues and address important goals and issues. Researches state that only 50% of the time spent in a meeting is effective and engaging. Approximately 25% of all the working time is lost in meetings. Organizations worldwide waste over $37 billion on unproductive meetings every year and worsen things. Undoubtedly, for most of us, it is common and usual. A meeting without a purpose or leadership will be never-ending.
An effective meeting leaves everyone feeling organized, motivated and clear on what you must achieve in the future. Organizing and hosting a perfect meeting requires proper planning and time management strategy. It leads the discussion in the right direction. The blog explains how to run a meeting effectively to get things done. Implementing these six simple strategies empowers and organizes your team to be proactive towards your business goals.
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What Makes a Meeting Successful?
For several thousands of years, humans gathered in small and large groups to discuss important business, family and community matters. Despite the introduction of advanced technology in our daily lives, meetings remain vital to accomplishing a shared vision within business units. Even in today’s workplace, meetings define cultural and strategic frameworks.
Effective meetings are vital for teamwork and productivity, whether you operate remotely or in-person. When you host effective meetings, you speed through an agenda quickly, delivering tangible outcomes. Every participant must leave the meeting with clarity and confidence whenever you organize a meeting. They must know their roles and how they must perform to achieve discussed organizational goals and upcoming milestones.
How can I define a meeting to be successful? It is the most common question from managers and leaders across industries daily. A successful meeting must:
- Define the identity of a group and help each individual understand their role within the team.
- Inspire creativity and cooperation within a team.
- Consider individual ideas and refine them into actionable solutions.
- Clarify collective goals, milestones and deadlines, helping each member visualize achieving their role.
Do you know the characteristics of an effective meeting? To conduct an effective meeting, focus on the following elements.
Preparation: With proper preparation, you make the most of your meeting. It includes preparing an agenda emphasizing the key points you must address during the meeting. Ensure you have the agenda handy for reference during the meeting, and take notes as required.
Delegation: When you organize and conduct a meeting, ensure to address all the key points, ensuring the members’ participation. Ensure that all the attendees are present and review the agenda with them so that they remain focused and engaged.
Action Plan: To finish a meeting successfully, you must have an ending summary. It confirms the role of the participants and explains the next steps your team members must follow.
Focus: When everyone focuses on the meeting, it ensures every key discussion point. Refer to the agenda and summarize the points made after each agenda. Do not hesitate to ask if anyone has any doubts or questions, and then move on to the next agenda.
Engagement: Attendees must remain focused and entertained throughout the meeting. When the participants remain engaged in a meeting, you receive input from everyone, producing greater results for your organization.
Plan Ahead: Do you schedule your next meeting during the current one? If no, start following the same, as it helps reach the maximum number of participants. Besides, it helps them vocalize any scheduling conflicts.
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Six Simple Steps to Adopt for a Successful Meeting
Whether you hate or love attending meetings, you cannot eliminate meetings. Therefore, it is crucial to make it useful and constructive. Are you finding new ways to make your meetings efficient and save time and money? Here are six proven meeting management tips that ensure higher productivity.
State the Objectives
Decide why you need the meeting. Will it help to gather information, decide on a milestone, or combine both? If you are unsure what to achieve, ensure not to repeat it. The first factor for a successful meeting involves having a clear and concrete agenda. As a leader, you must differentiate between the need for essential communication versus the need to call a meeting. You can organize essential communication through various means, including phone calls and emails.
Organizations conduct either routine meetings or strategic meetings. Leaders, managers, and team leaders conduct routine meetings every week. For instance, Monday morning recaps and projections or Friday team meetings. On the other hand, you need to hold strategic meetings to accomplish a specific goal, such as task-force meetings, problem-solving or creating a plan.
Are you struggling to clarify your objectives during a meeting? The simplest way is to jot them down. For better engagement, send your meeting objectives with the agenda. It will help the participants to stay on the same page. Ensure to explain the purpose of the meeting in a couple of sentences. If you fail, you probably do not require a meeting.
Invite Necessary Attendees to Reduce Distractions
Meetings are expensive and time-consuming, so you do not require everyone to achieve the meeting objective. Besides, they also hinder the participants’ productivity. If you ever think of inviting all the people, think about sitting in a room with a few people who are not associated with the meeting agenda or project. To make your meeting engaging and effective, consider including those who will contribute to the meeting’s objective.
Use Visual Aids
During a meeting, focus more on communication than on content. You can also include visuals, which are excellent ways to communicate complex ideas. The trick lies in using the visuals effectively and responsibly. Ensure the visual aids you use are exciting and relevant; otherwise, they will take away the precious time you scheduled for the meeting. Above all, ensure that your audience can understand what you are trying to communicate through the visual aid.
Focus on Punctuality
Do you require planning your new organizational goals through a meeting? Ensure to schedule for the beginning and ending of the meeting. I have seen managers start a meeting on time but fail to determine an ending time. Are your participants late for the meeting? The golden rule is never to wait for the newcomer. You cannot punish those attendees who reached the meeting room on time. You can also lock the meeting room from inside when the meeting is about to start. This way, you do not allow the latecomers and ensure they aren’t late.
Choose a Safe Space for Discussion
For most people, discussion is a way of processing thoughts. Organizations often require forums where people share their thoughts. Leaders and managers often conduct meetings for similar discussions. However, it isn’t the only way to hear their discussions. If your participants hesitate to express their ideas and thoughts aloud, you can ask them to share them in writing and create opportunities to share anonymously.
Conclude with Clear Actions, Owner and Timelines
Irrespective of the role or industry you belong to, it will be difficult to tackle a big project or a challenging issue within an hour. The result of a successful meeting involves pointing out clear steps and actions. As a manager, you must take time to clarify the further steps. Ensure to end positively so that everyone leaves the meeting energized. Never forget to share the notes or outcomes. It helps clear any miscommunication and make people aware of their responsibilities. Ensure to share the deadlines so the participants have the timeline to work. In case of failure to achieve the discussed deadline, you can discuss it in the next meeting to support and guide the participant.
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Conducting effective meetings is essential for all businesses. Meetings help the team members to come together and work towards a common goal by sharing ideas and making vital decisions. An unplanned and wrongly conducted meeting becomes unproductive and disengaging for the attendees. You can follow these strategies if you are confused about planning an effective meeting.