If you work from 9 to 5, chances are you’ve sat in a meeting before. Whether it be a brainstorm session or roundtable discussion, it doesn’t matter the industry you are in, meetings are inevitable. You may even be in charge of organizing and leading meetings at your job. So, what steps can you take to ensure successful, effective future meetings that produce results?
Here’s a rundown of 5 simple tips to organizing and running meetings that are goal-driven and won’t put your employees to sleep.
Before you reserve the conference room and reach out to attendees, you must define the meeting’s objective. Why are you organizing a discussion in the first place? What goals do you hope to achieve?
Once you establish the meeting's purpose, then you can begin to narrow in on the questions to ask and the information to share with others. If you don’t set an objective, people are going to be confused and frustrated as to why their busy days were interrupted to sit in a stagnant meeting that isn’t solving anything.
You emailed out the meeting request, now it’s time to work on the agenda. The best meetings are well-organized and thought out days before everyone sits down in the conference room. When setting an agenda or schedule, it’s best to write it all out and send the agenda to those attending, so they know what to expect and what questions to bring to the table.
As you create the outline, make sure to list the most important topics towards the top of the agenda. By prioritizing the list, you and your team can talk about the most pressing issues first without running out of time at the end of the meeting.
A few items to include in the agenda are:
• The objective, as stated above
• A brief overview of the meeting
• The time allotted for each bullet point on the agenda
When you set an agenda, you establish the expectations. Successful leaders encourage employees to offer feedback throughout a meeting. That's why agendas are useful resources for employees to look through beforehand, so they're not thrown off or unprepared during the meeting.
What’s more annoying than attending a meeting where the coordinator can’t figure out how to work the PowerPoint presentation or set up a video conference call? It’s difficult to accomplish everything on the agenda if you waste 20 minutes trying to figure out the technical glitches.
To avoid this, make sure to have everything set up 30 minutes before the meeting. Test your PowerPoint and have all the webpage links pulled up in advance. When in doubt, always seek help from someone in the I.T. department. Understand your strengths - if technology isn’t one of them, it’s OK to ask for assistance so your meeting runs smoothly without any errors.
Time is valuable. If you only have 8 hours in a day to accomplish multiple tasks, you wouldn't want to attend an hour-long meeting that turns into a two-hour-long meeting. Make sure to consider this when you organize a meeting. Respect your coworkers' time by starting exactly on time and end when you're supposed to, not ten minutes later. If you have a lot to discuss, it can be helpful if you include an allotted time for each bullet point on the agenda. That way you can stay on track throughout the meeting. If the meeting takes a different, unexpected turn or if it veers off the track, make sure to reel everyone back in and continue on with the planned agenda.
You have ten minutes left of the meeting - great, you're almost there! Use this time to create an action plan that will help achieve everything that was discussed. An action plan helps turn strategies into solutions. By delegating out tasks and making sure every employee is on the same page of what to do once the meeting is over, this ensures that results will be reached faster!
Meetings are an effective way to problem-solve and hear input from other employees. However, there are wrong methods of organizing and running meetings, which could, in turn, waste your time and your employee's time. Avoid that altogether by practicing these 5 tips and before you know it, you'll master the art of managing a meeting!