No one likes to be stuck in a long meeting where nothing really gets done. And no one wants to go to a meeting that they don’t really need to be at. You shouldn’t pull people away from their regular tasks to meet about every little thing that comes up in your business.
When you and your employees schedule meetings, you should be strategic. Meetings should build teamwork in the workplace, not burden your employees. You need to know how to make meetings more effective.
How to make meetings more effective
Use the following effective meeting strategies to conduct better meetings at your business.
Determine if the meeting is necessary
This step might seem silly, but you shouldn’t skip it. You might think, “Of course this meeting is necessary.” But, think about. Is holding a meeting really necessary? Or, is there another way to efficiently pass information without pulling people away from their work for an extended period of time?
If there are big issues to discuss, or if you’re trying to improve interdepartmental communication, go ahead and have the meeting. But if you just want a quick update from your employees, consider asking them all to send you a message.
Create an agenda
Before the meeting, create a list of everything you want to talk about.
Order the agenda so you hit the most important topics first. This ensures you have time for the most pressing discussions. If you run out of time, you can more easily cut the less important topics and get the information to employees another way.
Having an agenda also keeps your meeting on track. By knowing what information you need to get through, you can stay on topic.
Don’t invite everyone to the meeting (unless it really needs to be an all-company meeting). Be selective. Only invite people who really need to be at the meeting.
As you’re inviting employees, think about why you are asking them to come to the meeting. Do you want to hear their insights? Do you need to deliver information to them? Will they potentially need to do follow-up tasks after the meeting? If you don’t have a good reason to invite someone, don’t invite them.
Set a timeframe
Establish a clear start and stop time for the meeting. Tell employees the meeting times so they can plan their work accordingly.
Don’t leave the meeting times open ended. If you don’t have restrictions, the meeting is more likely to go off topic and take a long time. Without boundaries, what could be a 30-minute meeting might turn into a two-hour meeting. And, you might have to give time and a half pay if an extra long meeting causes hourly employees to work overtime hours.
Make sure you start and end meetings on time. Punctuality respects everyone’s time.
You might consider stand-up meetings. Most people don’t want to stand for a long period of time, so having everyone stand up during the meeting will naturally limit the meeting time.
Divide action items
At the end of the meeting, it should be clear what everyone needs to do. Recap what tasks need to be done, who is going to do them, and when they need to be done by.
If it’s not already clear who is going to do each action item, take time to divide them up. You might let employees volunteer to do tasks that interest them. Or, you might simply divide the tasks among all the meeting participants.
Developing a culture of more effective meetings
You can make all the meetings at your business more effective by training all employees to use the previous tips.
Ask employees to be strategic when they create meetings. Go over the tips for effective meetings with them. This will help them avoid unnecessary and unproductive meetings.
You also need to be a role model. Consistently use the tips for effective meetings to show employees how you want them to run meetings.