Meetings are one of those things that seem to be unavoidable in business today. For some of us, they feel like a bit of a chore, but they are a very important communication tool.
If meetings are not run correctly they will feel like they become a bit of a drain on your time, so here are some top tips for effective meetings.
1. Ensure your meeting has an objective or objectives - Rather than talk about what will be discussed in the meeting, think about what outputs the meeting will create. For example, avoid 'we're meeting to talk about last weeks sales figures' and focus on 'we're meeting to develop some actions on how to achieve our sales targets for next week'.
If you can't think of an objective for your meeting you should ask yourself if a meeting is needed.
2. Use and stick to an agenda - An agenda will help you and the other attendees focus on what needs to be discussed. Flip the agenda up and put it on the wall where it is always visible and use it to manage discussions, especially when the discussion goes 'off-piste'.
3. Capture things that can't be answered - Don't get drawn into what you think the answers to questions are. Use a 'car park' sheet or flip chart to capture those things you are unsure about then move on.
4. Start with any other business - If you must have an 'any other business' section in your meeting, but it at the beginning. It seems unorthodox but you want the meeting to finish positively. You could go even further to say that if an item didn't make the agenda then it won't be discussed.
5. Have a timekeeper - make sure someone is watching the time so you don't over-run. Set out times for each discussion point then stick to it.
6. Ensure everyone has their say - Don't leave people out. Even if someone is being really quiet, ask them for their opinion.
7. Finish on time - Ensure your meeting finishes at the agreed time. Over running will put people into a negative mind-set making harder to achieve your outcomes.
8. Ensure your meeting has achieved it's objectives - Check back through the objectives and ensure the meeting has driven the outcomes you were looking for.
We hope you find these tips useful. You can find out more about holding effective meetings as well as improving other areas of your communication with our Successful Meetings Training Course. To get more information take a look at the Successful Meetings Training Course overview.