Tips for Boosting Efficiency In Your Next Meeting
Communication is at the root of running a successful business- which can mean lengthy strategy and planning sessions. Drive productivity and efficiency into your next gathering through intelligent preparation. By implementing a few simple tips, engagement will skyrocket and you will achieve the desired result.
Read on to discover actionable tips for boosting meeting efficiency. First, let’s analyze if a meeting is the appropriate solution to your business problem.
Do You Need a Meeting?
How To Justify The Purpose Of A Meeting:
- Identify the exact problem the meeting is intended to solve.
- Clarify why the meeting must be held in-person.
- Define a desired result.
Before you schedule a meeting, identify the exact problem the meeting is intended to solve. Workers make jokes about having meetings – specifically, meetings to plan meetings – for good reason. Unnecessary meetings disrupt employees’ ability to complete tasks.
Before you send out that next meeting notice, clarify why the meeting must be held. Even if everyone is in the same office, a significant amount of “on-clock” hours and energy are spend going to and from the meeting. Pinpoint why the problem can’t be completed over email or phone call to ensure you’re choosing the most effective means of addressing the problem. If a new way to address the issue arises, save everyone time and hassle and do not hold the meeting.
Be sure to define a desired result before planning a meeting. Planning is rather useless when not connected to a desired outcome. Save yourself time and stress by challenging your own thinking before you begin.
Before the Meeting
Pre-Meeting To-Do List
- Prioritize no more than three meeting goals.
- Format the meeting to achieve your desired end result.
- Create an agenda driven from meeting goals and logical structure.
- Allocate a set amount of time to each topic.
- Send out the meeting agenda and summary with the invite.
- Test necessary equipment and technology before the meeting.
Before sending out meeting requests, prioritize no more than three meeting goals. Everyone has trouble remembering more than three talking points of any conversation.
Next, format the meeting to achieve your desired end result. If it is a strategy meeting, identify a process that can best serve the team and build it into the meeting, such as a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis. If you are holding a general planning meeting, think about the logical steps the group needs to take in the meeting and incorporate those into the agenda.
Next, create an agenda driven from the meeting goals. Map out the meeting’s sequence of events and identify the 5 W’s (who, what, when, where, and why) for every active component of the meeting including: people, videos, documents, and presentations.
As you plug items into the schedule, allocate a set amount of time to each topic, making sure to devote more time to the most important items. If the meeting is more than an hour, consider adding a ten to fifteen-minute break for people to clear their minds and check email.
Once complete, send out the meeting agenda and summary with the invite. If any individuals need to prepare specific information for the discussion, let them know. In addition, email any helpful or required pre-reading materials out in advance.
Once you have sent out the information pertaining to the meeting, everyone attending will have clear expectations and know the topics they need to prepare for. Their minds will be primed to add to the conversation when it is time.
If there are any technical requirements, test necessary equipment and technology before the meeting. Nothing can derail a discussion faster than technical difficulties.
During the Meeting
How To Conduct The Meeting
- Print and distribute copies of the agenda or write it on a whiteboard.
- Set the tone of the meeting with a welcoming introduction.
- Ask everyone to put their phones away and avoid checking emails.
- Assign roles to a handful of people to keep the meeting on track.
Before the meeting begins, print and distribute copies of the agenda or write it on a whiteboard so there is a visual representation of the meeting agenda.
After everyone files into the room, set the tone for the meeting with a welcoming introduction. Create a culture of inclusivity, open communication, listening, and thoughtful response. Show and value engagement and others will be inspired to follow suit.
To ensure maximum participation, kindly ask everyone to put their phones away and avoid checking emails for the duration. If you have a break scheduled in, be sure to mention it at the start.
Before getting into the core of the agenda, assign roles to a handful of people to keep the meeting on track. Ask one person to be in charge of watching the clock and keeping agenda items on schedule. Assign another person the task of note-taking. Consider assigning a third person to be in charge of asking questions to individuals in the group to make sure that everyone’s voice is heard and that no great ideas stay hidden.
At the End of the Meeting
How To Wrap-Up The Meeting
- Summarize the discussion and the decisions that were made.
- Clear up any confusion.
- Assign action items discussed during the meeting.
- Set deadlines for the completion of action items.
- Evaluate whether a follow-up meeting needs to take place.
Save a few minutes at the end of the meeting to summarize the discussion and decisions that were made.
Also, be sure to clear up any confusion so everyone walks away from the meeting in full understanding of how to take action..
Allocate five to ten minutes to assign action items discussed during the meeting and decide if there should be any additional items. In addition to assigning action items, set deadlines for completion.
Then, evaluate whether or not follow up meetings need to take place. If so, decide on the date or recurrence schedule.
After the Meeting
How To Ensure Post-Meeting Action:
- Have the note taker distribute notes or make them available in a shared drive.
- Send out all necessary follow up meeting invites, action items, and deadlines.
After the meeting, have the note taker distribute notes or make them available in a shared drive. Notes should always be easily accessible in case someone needs to reference their action items or look back on vital information.
In addition, send out all necessary follow up meeting invites, action items, and deadlines. Then, check in with team members periodically to make sure they are sticking to the agreed-upon action items.
By pre-planning, sticking to an agenda, and assigning individual tasks in meetings, you may notice a dramatic change in your next meeting. Instead of low engagement or confusion, your team will benefit from an organized and efficient approach. Setting clear action items and deadlines during the meeting will help your business run smoothly.
We want to hear about your success! Which methods have you used to boost productivity and efficiency during meetings? Which of the above methods are you going to try next? Let us know in the comments below!