How to Get the Most Out of Your Meetings

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We all know what it’s like to get a meeting invitation sent to you on Outlook. There’s one main emotion that you’ll experience: Annoyance. You already have a lot on your plate and don’t really want to spend a lot of time in meetings that may or may not accomplish any tangible action items. We know exactly how you feel. A meeting can go longer than you want, and there are often participants who will shout out ideas or random thoughts which can get the meeting off topic.

But don’t worry. Instead of meetings just be a dreaded time holder we have created a battle sheet for those who hold meetings to help keep your attendees engaged, and make it worth the participator’s time.

  • Have an agenda ready ahead of time. Rather than having your attendees arrive with no idea of what’s going on or what’s going to be discussed, make a plan and distribute it to the participants. Results: This allows those attending to be prepared in advance and focused which creates a productive meeting.
  • Appoint a meeting regulator. For those who will be making it to the meeting, pick a leader who is comfortable with the topic and someone who is respected by the team. Results: Having them set up and lead the meeting will help keep it on track and eliminate off-topic outbursts.
  • Hide mobile devices. From juggling multiple tasks, reading and responding to emails, and expecting phone calls, your attention is dispersed among other things besides the topic at hand. So, why not ban phones from meetings? Results: Going device-free during meetings eliminates distractions and makes those attending actually participate instead of just being a bystander.
  • Schedule the meetings similar to train schedules. If the meeting is scheduled for 2:00 and people start trickling in at 2:05, create specific times and durations for meetings. Adopting the Swiss Trains approach: i.e. scheduling a meeting from 10:23 AM to 10:44 AM as if a train was departing from the station, you don’t want to be late for it. Results: It makes your attendees highly attentive from start to finish.
  • Incorporate 10 minutes for recapping. Like any good presentation or paper, you want to have a summary of the information that was covered. Why wouldn’t you want the same to happen with your meetings? Results: Keep the tasks moving forward, and make sure everyone is aware of their action items.

And one final word… remember that not everything you want to discuss needs to be in meeting format. Think long and hard before you push that “Schedule Meeting” button. Ask yourself: Can this be said in an email? And if the answer is undoubtedly “yes” then don’t waste the time in a meeting room.

Collaborating as a group helps put down the groundwork for success in your team and in your business. In order to make your team jump up from their desks with excitement before heading into your meeting, following these steps makes an effective use for the attendees and your time.