How to Make Meetings More Successful
We all know the feeling. You take a look at your calendar in the morning and it’s blocked off with meetings for the day. A sense of dread washes over you.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
“Despite all of the resources companies devote to them, many meetings end up being counterproductive. Add to this, human factors—such as our mental and emotional biases—and meetings can actually become a perilous problem for a company,” Tony Ewing says in Forbes.
There are things you can do before the meeting even starts to create an atmosphere for a successful meeting.
Establish the need for the meeting
“The meeting should solve a specific problem or address a specific issue,” Ewing explains. Without a clear goal, don’t schedule the meeting.
Invite the appropriate people
“In light of its stated goals, invite people with the power and expertise for achieving those goals,” Ewing recommends.
Keep the meeting as small as possible and make sure the people invited have the right technology to participate.
Pre-circulate an agenda
Ewing says a pre-circulated agenda should outline the previously established needs and stakeholders and why those people are involved.
Once you’ve done that, it’s time to actually have the meeting.
Follow a clear agenda
This begins with starting the meeting on time.
“Successful people reiterate the meeting’s goals and desired outcomes, and offer what they expect the meeting to achieve,” Ewing recommends.
Make humor a key component
If possible, diffuse any tension or stress during the meeting with humor, but only if the subject matter calls for it.
“The main goal is to get the audience to relax, without undermining the meeting’s importance,” Ewing explains.
Deftly handle complaints
Even with preparation, you may receive complaints for having the meeting in the first place. Continue to focus on the already-established goals and don’t let complainers derail the meeting.
Keep participation focused
If you see people drifting off by checking messages or not giving their full attention, try to bring them back to the task at hand. Ewing suggests interrupting deviations and directing people back to the agenda.
Once you’ve had the meeting, the work doesn’t stop.
Share the minutes
Distribute a recap of the meeting as soon as you are able making sure to “highlight decisions made and plans of actions that will be taken and designate the roles and responsibilities of those identified as such and in attendance,” Ewing says.
Ewing recommends reaching out to meeting attendees to see what worked and what did not work about the meeting and take what you’ve learned to improve future meetings.
“Stakeholders should look towards future actions, based upon issues raised in the meeting,” Ewing says.