Steps to More Efficient and Effective Meetings
Productive communication and the efficient use of time are often lacking in many meetings. This challenges many people, from managers to general staff members. Do you have a colleague who always needs to ask pointless questions, or is able to derail your proposals by continuously harping on about their issues?
Effective Meetings: What to Do
Meetings themselves need to be well managed, time-efficient, and productive. More efficient and effective meetings are possible if you take set steps to guard against wasting our most precious resource, time.
Every meeting needs to have a set agenda. This is essential as it limits and defines, precisely, what the meeting will be about. Should matters arise that are not on the agenda, they can be tabled for future discussion.
The danger of not sticking to the agenda is that it is far too easy to lose focus, waste time, and not cover everything that is a priority. An agenda needs to be decided on before the meeting. Any points raised, need to be noted and followed up at another time. The momentum of the meeting needs to follow the agenda.
2. Taking Minutes
It is important to keep a record of communication, decisions made, and relevant information, that is discussed during meetings. A written record can be passed along to management and is a way to keep track of issues.
At the executive level, there may be personal assistants, or secretaries, who will take minutes for meetings. Regardless of the size of your business or the level of formality of your meetings, it is essential that you keep a written record.
3. Watch The Clock
Meetings, can run on. And on. And on. People start shuffling in their seats, looking at watches, and stop concentrating. Worse still, time can run out before all the items on the agenda have been covered.
Time needs to be managed very closely, during meetings. Do you have a Boss who likes the sound of his, or her, own voice? Some people are natural talkers, but, this does not mean they are effective communicators. Brevity is key. Get to the point. Stick to the point. Watch the clock.
4. Arrive Early
Timekeeping and managing a meeting effectively require all parties to be present, and, on time. Being late by as little as 5 minutes can mean that everyone is waiting for you.
Depending on the decisions being made, and the nature of the business, it may be possible to start a meeting without some staff being present. However, as soon as you get to management or any executive level, it becomes pointless to have a meeting without the necessary decision makers being present. Arrive on time or better yet, 5 minutes early.
5. Power Posses
Who needs to be there? Depending on the nature of the business, it may be more productive to limit the meetings to decision makers only. While feedback from other staff members may be useful, it is essential to decide carefully beforehand on the list of attendees.
Yes, Andrew from accounting may have some valuable ideas to share about how he thinks the business can be transformed but is it a good use of time? Yours or, his? Set your agenda and your attendee list, well in advance. Effective and efficient use of time is essential for any business.