"Always start your meetings on time – no matter who is there."
Few of us enjoy meetings. Often unproductive and frequently a colossal waste of time, meetings nevertheless are an unfortunate necessity in today’s fast-moving business world.
Employing these tips can make your meetings more productive and efficient while getting everyone on track.
1. Send an agenda.
Sending an agenda in advance gives your meeting specific purpose and direction and prompts others to think about what they have to contribute. Occasionally, one of the attendees will have a major topic to discuss – encourage people to ask to be added to the agenda to avoid surprises.
2. Invite the right people.
Some people are so meeting-averse that they opt out automatically. If you need your boss to attend, politely request his/her presence.
3. Define priorities.
Priorities may change between the time you send out the agenda and when you actually hold the meeting, but make sure the important things get covered first.
4. Ask good questions.
Probe and challenge your team. Use discerning questions to draw out introverted team members and get them to share.
No one ever learned anything while speaking. Be patient, but also know when you need to step in and you'll save a lot of time and resources.
6. Set a time limit.
Always start your meetings on time – no matter who is there. During the meeting, you don't have to be a Time Nazi, but general awareness and a gentle reminder or two will help keep the group on task – and stop those who love to hear themselves speak. You will be respected for respecting people’s time.
7. Don’t forget the “follow-up.”
If no one is assigned ownership of a task, it's not going to get done. If another meeting is needed, scheduling it at the end of the current meeting saves time in the long run and makes sure everyone is aware and available. Sending detailed notes to the group after the meeting and again with the notice of the next meeting works as a gentle reminder.
Employing these simple ideas can start 2016 off on the right foot by making your meetings productive – and worth everyone’s time.