Meetings, consultations, conferences... whatever you wish to call them, they are an integral part of your company. Efficient meetings are beneficial to your workflow and make for better teamwork. A good meeting can provide answers to a whole range of questions. In theory, at least... Because the reality is often quite different. Often the same complaints keep popping up: the meeting didn’t arrive at a decision, people were unprepared, Eddy from accounting launched into a 15-minute monologue, there was no clear agenda, etc.
Hence these 8 tips for an efficient meeting. Whether you’re chairing or simply attending a meeting, they will always come in handy. Whatever position you’re in, you have the right to make demands or expect certain things before, during and after a meeting.
1. Set a concrete agenda
What exactly are we going to discuss? It’s clearly mentioned on the agenda. If possible, it is always a good idea to detail each item on the agenda.
2. When inviting the participants ask them to prepare the meeting in writing.
The invitation doesn’t include a written preparation? Then ask for one. Or make one. This restricts the room for improvisation and keeps the meeting on point.
3. Strike the ‘miscellaneous’ item
If you follow item 1 and 2 there is no need for ‘miscellaneous’. A good agenda is detailed, ‘miscellaneous’ is general. By nature, a miscellaneous item does not include preparations. Everyone would feel compelled to present issues no one prepared for. In other words, ‘miscellaneous’ is completely contrary to everything a well-organised and productive meeting stands for. My advice? Delete, delete, delete!
4. Draw up a plan of action and hand it out immediately
End the meeting with a plan of action. What are we going to do? How will we do it? Decide a course of action for every item on the agenda. All these decisions make up a plan of action that can be evaluated as soon as the next meeting.
5. Start and finish on time
Timing is sacrosanct so be sure to respect it. When everyone makes an effort to clear their schedules for the meeting then the least you can do is start or end the meeting on time. Starting on time also means not starting over for latecomers. Closing on time boils down to keeping the participants focused. Lengthy meetings weaken the concentration and - as you might expect - they seriously affect the efficiency of the proceedings.
6. Rule out unnecessary interference
Ringing smartphones, a beamer that is not set up yet, not enough chairs... unnecessary interruptions that break the momentum of the meeting and distract us from our objective: focusing on the agenda to achieve results as soon as possible.
7. Dispense with the round table principle
Do you want everyone to take an active part in your meeting and do you want to keep everyone focused? Then let the participants speak in random order. This will keep them alert and on point. In other words, avoid those classic round table discussions where everyone speaks in turn.
8. Break the curse of the last item on the agenda
Is your item the last one on the agenda? Then odds are it won’t get the attention it deserves. Still, if you’ve followed the previous tips it doesn’t have to be that way Because there will not be any time pressure and everyone respects the agenda. What’s more, the final item on the agenda can also be the most exciting one so you’re sure to have everyone’s attention.
Efficient meetings are but one aspect of good management.
We will be happy to assist you in other areas as well.
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