It is important to keep meetings efficient and effective in order to be productive. Meetings can either be a waste of time or a great chance for everyone to collaborate, but it all depends on what you do before the meeting starts and during. Here are some tips that will help you avoid wasting everyone’s time at the next meeting!
1. Write down your agenda in advance so you know exactly what you need from each person.
Meetings will go a lot smoother if you aren’t going in blind and have a clear head of what needs to get done. Having a written agenda will also help you stay on track. This way you won’t waste people’s time asking them the same thing over again if they have already told you.
2. Create a timeline for the meeting.
A clear timeline of how long different parts of the meeting will take up will help everyone know what they should be doing next. In this task, you have to segment the entire meeting down from start to finish. You can also give an estimation of how long each section should take, but be open to the fact that things might change. Give some leeway into the timeline to make sure things go smoothly.
3. Assign specific tasks for people to take care of such as writing down notes, taking minutes, and other responsibilities.
You don’t want to assign too many tasks, but no one should go into a meeting unprepared either. If you give someone a specific task, they will know exactly what they need to do. When you give them something to focus on it takes the pressure off of you, and they will be more focused.
4. Prepare what you need to say before the meeting starts.
It can be a little overwhelming if a new topic pops up in the middle of the conversation, but that will happen from time to time. You should have everything prepared beforehand so that these things don’t throw off your train of thought. Executive communication coaching can help to teach you how to be prepared for anything that comes your way. If you have a notebook with all the important points written down it will be easier to look at them when a new topic comes up.
5. Bring everyone up to speed by sending out meeting notes beforehand if possible.
If you send out the meeting notes and agenda beforehand, it will help everyone get prepared accordingly. It is easier to prepare in advance than it is when you are forced to do it overnight. Sometimes people might not be able to make the meeting if they don’t know what’s going on, so this will also help in that regard.
6. Make sure everyone is quiet while someone else is talking.
Even though there are no specific rules about how meetings should go, most meetings are useless if the members are not quiet when someone is talking. It takes up time and can be frustrating for someone who is trying to make a point. Make sure everyone knows that they need to shut up until it’s their turn to talk.
7. Keep your voice calm and steady throughout.
This will hold everyone’s attention better, and you will come across as more professional. It is easy to get irritated with someone who talks for too long, but you don’t want to give the impression that they annoy you. Maintaining a calm demeanor can help prevent small issues from turning into something much bigger.
8. Avoid taking breaks unless it’s necessary.
Everyone gets tired and needs a break sometimes, but this should happen at the end of the meeting. If you take breaks during the main part of the meeting it will throw off your timeline and make people antsy. It can get frustrating when someone takes a long break in the middle of something important.
9. Don’t leave things for the last minute or close them too early.
When you leave things for the last minute, it will make people feel like they are unimportant. Also, when you close the meeting too early people might not be ready to leave yet. Close your meetings on time so that everyone can go home at their scheduled time, but don’t rush out the door because that isn’t polite either.
10. Conclude the meeting with a summary of everything discussed.
Finally, you should close the meeting with a summary of everything that was discussed. If you don’t, people might forget what happened and misunderstand what everyone is trying to accomplish. This way, everyone will know exactly where they stand and what they need to do next time around.
These tips should help you become more comfortable as an executive leader who facilitates meetings on a regular basis. Remember to ask yourself what you want to accomplish through the meeting, and then determine how best to get your message across. You should also take into consideration that some people might be more invested in this than others, so try not to let anything fall by the wayside.