Transform Meetings from Hidebound Trolls into Productive Beasts
One of the most practical skills to bring to the table as an entrepreneur, boss, leader or human resources staffer is the ability to run successful meetings. Far too often, meetings are slogs to barely tolerate rather than sleek, productive uses of your time. To get started with effective meeting training, think about the tips below.
Identify Common Problems with Meetings You’ve Run
What has been going astray with the meetings you run Perhaps they are too long, seem to accomplish nothing, leave you exhausted and are possibly attended by some of the wrong people. Don’t skip this step; part of effective meeting training is to know the problems you need to prevent and solve.
Pinpoint the Goal of a Meeting
Chances are that the various meetings you set up or are asked to attend have different goals. For instance, one meeting might aim to distribute information, while another is a planning session. Depending on the goal, you might decide that the meeting (or attending it) is unnecessary. With informational meetings, you can often get the information another way. If you are unsure you should attend, ask what it is you have to contribute. And if you do have a contribution, is it necessary for you to attend the entire meeting, or can you leave early Be sure to inform the people running the meeting of your plans, of course.
To help with identifying the goal of a meeting, fill in this sentence: ïBy the end of the meeting, the group shouldï ï
Replace the Meeting
Do you really need to meet in person Can you accomplish your goals via phone call or email Whenever possible, replace a meeting or cancel it altogether.
Start on Time
Seriously, do start on time. Arrive a couple of minutes early, or even earlier if you need to set up, but start the meeting at the appointed time. One big time waster and contributor to making people feel resentful is waiting for latecomers to show up. Stop doing that, and other people will soon learn to arrive on time as well.
Halve the Meeting Length
Whatever the length that meetings of this particular type have been, immediately set aside half as much time for them. It’s very true that material expands to fill the time available. Effective meeting training calls for nipping precedent in the bud to get streamlined meetings. For meetings of fewer than 20 minutes, everyone should stand. Sitting is more comfortable, so standing motivates people to move on.
Stick to the Plan
At the beginning of the meeting, state your objective. Develop an agenda for longer meetings: say, those of 20 minutes or more. An agenda helps ensure the meeting remains on point and focused. If distractions such as unrelated issues creep in, shoo them away. Another common culprit that gets meeting plans off track is people unreasonably dominating the conversation; put your people skills to use. You may need to say something like, ïYour points are useful, but we need to hear from other people.ï Don’t be afraid to assert yourself. If moderating or facilitating are skills you do not possess, select someone with these skills, someone who can keep meetings flowing.
Depending on the agenda, you may want to distribute it prior to the meeting so that participants have time to prepare.
Accept No Distractions
Have you been guilty of checking your phone during a meeting If you haven’t, certainly you know plenty of people who do. Establish a policy immediately that emailing, texting and the like will not be tolerated during meetings. Ask staffers to not bring their phones. If you see people violating the no-texting rule, make them leave. They won’t be texting during the next meeting, that’s for sure.
Have Someone Record and Follow Up
If the purpose of a meeting is to plan or to determine some sort of action, it’s important to have a person whose focus is on recording that information. Otherwise, you risk misunderstandings and people forgetting what they need to do after the meeting.
Do Not Be Afraid to Cancel
It happens to the best of people; you think you’re prepared for a meeting but realize you’re not. Or you’re supposed to lead a meeting that you didn’t even know was happening. It’s best to postpone or cancel a meeting rather than slog through a colossal waste of time.
Finish Meetings on Time
Ever been to a meeting that spilled over into other plans That shows no respect for your time. Effective meeting training calls for a respect of your time as well as that of other people. Aim to end meetings early, and at the very least, on time. Yes, this is even after halving the usual time.
As you work to spread the word about effective meeting training and to make all-star hires, turn to the tools here at Mighty Recruiter to aid in your quest.