No matter the department — accounting, sales, marketing, you name it — meetings often elicit eye-rolls and headaches from employees. What’s the culprit?
Most likely it’s bad planning. A meeting that lacks good planning will quickly turn boring and unproductive. And a bad meeting can affect your employees’ remainder of the day, too, especially if the meeting is running long and cutting into your employees’ normal schedule.
Ask yourself these four questions before planning your next meeting, and share these with your managers, too.
What’s the purpose?
This should be obvious, but there are some managers who set up a meeting with a very vague idea of what they want to accomplish.
For example, if the meeting is to address a problem — “Why is X down and Y is up?” — don’t just go in with that question. Think about the results you’re trying to achieve.
Effective meetings are about making decisions so there needs to be some result that’s attained at the end of the meeting. Think like this: “This meeting’s purpose is to come up with three to five solutions that will boost X.” This type of thinking will help you — and the meeting itself — stay on course.
Does everyone else know the purpose, too?
Even if the meeting’s been scheduled a week or two in advance, get in contact with those attending a day or two before the meeting and review what the purpose is while also adding some detail.
This demonstrates that this is a meeting you’re taking seriously, which should be contagious for those attending. If they haven’t begun brainstorming, they certainly will start right away.
The point is that you want employees at the meeting to be discussing and talking about the topics at hand, not just thinking about them.
How long should this run?
Set a strict time limit, and stick to it. Thirty minutes is a good amount of time for most meetings, but, again, it’s important to stick to that time.
Prepare an outline ahead of time and allot a set amount of time for each item on the agenda.
Who else should be talking?
You’re running the meeting but it doesn’t mean others can’t be heard. Always leave time for your team to sound off on ideas and give their input.
By that same token, engage the quiet members of your team. Ask them their thoughts on an idea and they will eventually get out of their shell for future meetings.
What are your tips for running a successful meeting? Share them in the comments below.