Meetings are a powerful tool that are widely misunderstood.
Did you ever sit in a meeting feel the desire to yell, “Get to the point?”
Have you ever walked out of a meeting and thought to yourself, “That was a total waste of time?”
Meetings fill an increasing number of hours in the workday, and yet most employees consider them as a waste of time. According to a survey of U.S. professionals by Salary.com, meetings ranked as the number one office productivity killer.
Before we discuss Five Tips to Achieve More Effective Meetings, we first need to address mindset. Employee mindset training can transform the flow and outcomes of your meetings.
mindset: the established set of attitudes held by someone.
Teams we train to implement the W.A.I.T. mindset see significant improvements in effectiveness, efficiency, and impact of their meetings on the bottom line.
Our TOP Time Optimization Tip: W.A.I.T. a minute before you speak
If everyone considered this, meetings would be much more effective
There are ways to run effective, efficient meetings that leave your employees feeling energized and excited about their work. Here are five tips to achieve more effective meetings:
- Distribute and Review Agenda In Advance. Review list of attendees. Prepare an agenda template so all future meetings can be planned by filling in the blanks. You should establish ground rules, we ban technology and remind others to be mindful of using the W.A.I.T. technique. The mindset is taught, reinforced, recognized, and rewarded ingraining it into company culture.
- Clear Objective and desired outcome. A meeting must have a specific and defined purpose. Before you send that calendar invite, ask yourself: What do I seek to accomplish? Are you alerting people to a change in management or a shift in strategy? Are you seeking input from others on a problem facing the company? Are you looking to arrive at a decision on a particular matter? Standing meetings with vague purposes, such as “status updates,” are rarely a good use of time.
- Take no hostages. An engaged audience is required. But, nothing derails a meeting faster than one person talking more than his/her fair share. If you notice one person monopolizing the conversation, call him out. Say, “We appreciate your contributions, but now we need input from others before making a decision.” Be public about it. Establishing ground rules early on will create a framework for how your group functions. You can use the “Parking Lot” to manage off topic discussions.
- Stick to your schedule. Start on time, end on time. Create an agenda that lays out everything you plan to cover in the meeting, along with a timeline that allots a certain number of minutes to each item, and email it to people in advance. Once you’re in the meeting, put that agenda up on a screen or whiteboard for others to see. This keeps people focused.
- Follow up. It’s common for people to come away from the same meeting with very different interpretations of what went on. To reduce this risk, email a memo highlighting what was accomplished to all who attended within 24 hours after the meeting. Document the responsibilities given, tasks delegated, and any assigned deadlines. That way, everyone will be on the same page.
Meetings truly can be valuable and productive. Master these five elements and you can run productive and efficient meetings that move the needle forward.
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