It doesn’t matter whether you’re a one-person or 20-person operation—at one point or another, you will have to conduct business meetings. Often, these meetings can be over-scheduled, unfocused, under-prepared, and a big fat waste of time. Whether they be with your staff, a client, strategic partners or your family, you will want to know how to run more effective meetings so that everyone is satisfied.
A business article found on Dummies.com entitled “Conducting Effective Business Meetings,” give a few pointers on how to conduct meetings that are empowering, boost morale, help develop work and leadership skills while enabling everyone present the ability to communicate more effectively. Here are just a few of the highlights:
1. Cut back. While some meetings are necessary, most are not. And a proliferation of unnecessary meetings means a jam-packed scheduled that doesn’t allow for many billable hours. Try eliminating some of these meetings by accomplishing their objectives via phone or email. Then ensure that when you do meet with people, there’s a solid purpose.
2. Prepare. Gather all the necessary data you need in order for the meeting to be successful. Meetings that are shot from the hip frustrate attendees who begin to believe that their time would be better spent elsewhere—and in such a case, it probably would be!
3. Provide an agenda. A meeting agenda provides attendees with a list of topic to cover and objectives to accomplish. When possible, distribute the agenda before the meeting so that attendees can prepare for the meeting and their participation beforehand. Either way, agendas will better enable you to conduct meetings that are on task.
4. Maintain focus. It’s not uncommon for meetings to run off-track as attendees begin chatting about the latest reality show or their cousin Maybell’s wedding. As the one presiding over the meeting, it is your job to ensure that you follow the agenda and steer everyone clear of these distracting water-cooler topics.
5. Make them inclusive. Exclusive meetings are often necessary. However, sometimes the best ideas come from entry-level staff. Consider inviting everyone on your payroll to the next company meeting, even your teenage son who files your invoices on the weekend. You may be surprised at the dynamic this create and the winning ideas that result.
6. Start and end on time. People are more generous with their time when they know it won’t be squandered. When you honor the meeting schedule by starting and ending on time, you’ll find meetings are more productive and make for more cheerful attendees.
7. Capture and assign action items. Meetings are useless if you don’t note action items and assign them to people. Be sure that these assignments are clear and that you follow-up by emailing them to everyone afterward.
8. Solicit feedback. Those who attend your meetings can provide the best feedback regarding how effective they are. You want to encourage them to tell you what went right and wrong. When getting specific information on improvements that could be made, consider asking the following questions suggested by Dummies.com:
- Was the meeting too long?
- Did one person dominate the discussion?
- Were attendees unprepared?
- Where the times on the agenda unclear?
Meetings can be a valuable resource that provides you with crucial information that can propel your practice forward. However, that can only happen when your meetings are effective. Applying the above tips will enable you to cut back on unnecessary meetings while ensuring that those that remain are more productive.
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–. “Conducting Effecting Business Meetings.” Dummies.com