Meetings are a great way to bring your team together. They can keep morale up on a project and make great strides toward effectively communicating ideas and get everyone on the same page. They can be places where productive thoughts are brought up and innovation happens.
They can also be a waste of time that everyone complains about.
So what are the keys to hosting effective and productive meetings?
- Communicate the Objective Straight Away
Make sure everyone knows what the meeting is about before arrival and get clear on it again right at the beginning of the meeting. Having a clear objective can keep the meeting on topic.
- Prep Yourself And The Attendees
Should people know things before arrival? Should they be given certain materials to go over ahead of time to speed things up in the meeting? For example, if there is information some of the attendees already know, it would be helpful to catch everyone else up before this meeting. Otherwise, covering that information in the meeting will mean the people who already know disengage, bringing down the group morale.
If anyone will need to speak during the meeting or have something prepared to bring, make sure they know ahead of time.
- Know Who Is Coming
Do not simply invite everyone. This isn’t to exclude people. It’s to keep things productive. Who will gain something from coming to this meeting? Invite everyone who serves a purpose toward the meeting’s objective. If someone can simply be recapped of the highlights from the meeting but isn’t really needed there, do not have them attend.
This values their time. It also gives more space for the people who are needed to attend.
- Set Appropriate Time Limits
How long should this meeting really last? Keep things well structured during the meeting and only make it as long as necessary. Set an appropriate time limit when you invite people.
- Structure The Meeting
When preparing for the meeting, structure out the time so you know how long you’ll spend on each point. This isn’t only to keep your meeting brief. It’s to keep the topics from dragging too long. You want people to stay engaged, so stay on certain topics as long as necessary and no longer.
- Use Open Ended Questions
As a way to keep people engaged, ask open ended questions. This will keep them thinking. It will also bring out some innovative thinking in the meeting.
- Have A Clear Meeting Ending
You need to have a clear ending to an efficient and productive meeting. Even if everything else went right, attendees will leave the meeting feeling off if you don’t have a clear ending.
In the last minute of your meeting, go over the action items for people moving forward and do a quick recap of the bullet points from your meeting. This way, everyone leaves knowing what the takeaways were.