Meetings are like marmite, you either love them or you hate them.
I personally love meetings. It’s a chance to get away from your desk, share ideas, be productive, socialise and secretly kill time! It also gives you something to work on for the rest of the week.
Others hate them. They feel they are boring, they drag on, everyone is on their phone and 9 times out of 10 no one is even listening! Don’t get me wrong, I have been in many meetings like this but I have learnt that a meeting is what you make it and they can be fun, energetic and exciting.
With no delay, here are some of my top tips for a great meeting.
- SCHEDULE SOONER
Wherever possible, try scheduling them in at least a week in advance – That way people have time to prepare and know what they are going in to. Nobody likes ANYTHING, let alone a meeting, sprung up on them last minute. Try to schedule the meeting at a decent time where people will be alert and productive such as the hours between 8.30am and 11am. It’s certainly not wise to do an afternoon meeting when people are just back from lunch and just clock watching until home time!
- A* AGENDA
Before sending the calendar request, you must have clear objectives and think hard about what it is you want this meeting to achieve. Most importantly STICK TO THE AGENDA. It’s all fair and good having one, but if you waffle off topic and start talking about something completely different, no matter how creative it ends up being, the meeting will either run over (which no one wants) or you won’t actually get the results you wanted to initially achieve.
- INVITE ONLY
Think about who really needs to be at this meeting. Don’t just invite people for the sake of it even if they are in the same department. Think about who will benefit from it and be considerate that some people are busier than others so may just profit from the meeting minutes. If people feel as though the meeting is irrelevant to them, they will be annoyed and feel as though you’ve wasted their time. Remember time is money!
- TIME MANAGEMENT
It’s the number one key skill everyone needs to have in life – especially for work and meetings. Simply start on time and end on time. Do not wait for late comers , it’s their problem if they’re late, not everyone else’s and do not have a meeting that lasts longer than one hour or people will naturally switch off. If you stick to these points, people will not only make every effort to attend your meetings but also appreciate you.
- INTERDICT IPHONES
Put a ban on all things technology – even if it is 2016 and most people don’t even own a pen and paper anymore. The sad truth is if anyone’s eyes are fixed on everything else but yours, then it’s safe to say they will be emailing, browsing online and generally just not engaging in the meeting. Suggestion: provide pens and paper for everyone and guarantee them you will provide clear meeting minutes so they can actively get involved in the discussion.
- MEETING MINUTES
Following on nicely from point 5, it is essential that within 24 hours, you submit the meeting minutes clearly noting who is responsible for the agreed action steps and the time frame for completion, plus details and timing of the next meeting, if it is required. See these tips on how to write effective meeting minutes.
Try these tips on your next meeting and hopefully it will be productive, valuable and worthwhile.