10 August 2016

Stop wasting time and energy conducting meetings that bear no real consequence

In some companies, when the word “meeting” is read or heard, everyone feels thrill and excitement. In others, however, meetings can generate collective grunts of displeasure in the workplace. So what is it that makes the difference?

First of all, if you’re the boss who typically leads most of company meetings, you might want to evaluate the way these routine gatherings are carried out. Meetings can be a melting pot of brilliant ideas that could eventually alter the landscape of the business for the better, or it could easily be just a notoriously boring activity that everyone loathes to be a part of.

Below are some tips on how to make company meetings — no matter how big or small — serve its real purpose and regain its good reputation.

Be explicitly clear on stating the agenda of the meeting

Unless you’re having a meeting to inform your team about something that is intended to be a surprise, you need to be very clear in letting everyone know what the meeting will be about. You wouldn’t want your meeting to be attended by people who are not supposed to be there, or people who have come to expect something and ending up hearing about something else.

By being specific on the agenda, you can limit the attendees to only the relevant people. That way, you can avoid wasting other people’s time, and you can also avoid stuffing their minds with information that they don’t really need to know (at least not in the moment).

Encourage participation

This is where your leadership style comes into play. Are you the type of leader that has genuine interest in the consensus of everyone in the business? Then allowing people to input ideas and opinions during meetings must already be part of the culture. But what if you’re an aggressive business owner who likes to play your cards close to the chest? What if you really don’t want to entertain what other people pitch in?

In that case, if you want your meetings to be meaningful, you’d still need to encourage participation anyway. You may not end up absorbing what they put on the table, but at least you’re letting them feel that their opinions matter and are taken into account. And who knows — you might be surprised to hear great ideas from different perspectives that you otherwise would not have thought of.

Be mindful of the time

 Try setting a specific timeframe for each item in the agenda or for the entire meeting itself. As much as possible, don’t go beyond your allotted time to avoid creating a bad habit of dwelling too much on a singular concern, unless the matter at hand is very urgent and needs immediate resolution.

Also part of time management is dealing with people who come in late. Never allow people to delay meetings just because they cannot make it to the meeting venue on time. Create a rule that imposes performance-impacting consequences on whoever comes in late. Or, if you want to make it more fun, have latecomers do something in front of everyone that would make them never be late again.

Make a habit of summarising what has transpired in the meeting

The purpose of wrapping up and doing a quick summary is to refresh everyone’s minds on the critical points of the meeting, especially for those people who refuse to take down notes or when the meeting has stretched out too long that some people may forget things.

It also allows you to accordingly set forthcoming meetings to tackle concerns that need further discussion, or tasks that need to be tracked for progress in a particular time in the future.

 

Being a business owner, you need to be able to make the most of meetings with people that help you achieve your goals. Don’t allow old routines and unproductive behaviors turn your meeting into something pointless and dull.

In some companies, when the word “meeting” is read or heard, everyone feels thrill and excitement. In others, however, meetings can generate collective grunts of displeasure in the workplace. So what is it that makes the difference?

First of all, if you’re the boss who typically leads most of company meetings, you might want to evaluate the way these routine gatherings are carried out. Meetings can be a melting pot of brilliant ideas that could eventually alter the landscape of the business for the better, or it could easily be just a notoriously boring activity that everyone loathes to be a part of.

Below are some tips on how to make company meetings — no matter how big or small — serve its real purpose and regain its good reputation.

Be explicitly clear on stating the agenda of the meeting

Unless you’re having a meeting to inform your team about something that is intended to be a surprise, you need to be very clear in letting everyone know what the meeting will be about. You wouldn’t want your meeting to be attended by people who are not supposed to be there, or people who have come to expect something and ending up hearing about something else.

By being specific on the agenda, you can limit the attendees to only the relevant people. That way, you can avoid wasting other people’s time, and you can also avoid stuffing their minds with information that they don’t really need to know (at least not in the moment).

Encourage participation

This is where your leadership style comes into play. Are you the type of leader that has genuine interest in the consensus of everyone in the business? Then allowing people to input ideas and opinions during meetings must already be part of the culture. But what if you’re an aggressive business owner who likes to play your cards close to the chest? What if you really don’t want to entertain what other people pitch in?

In that case, if you want your meetings to be meaningful, you’d still need to encourage participation anyway. You may not end up absorbing what they put on the table, but at least you’re letting them feel that their opinions matter and are taken into account. And who knows — you might be surprised to hear great ideas from different perspectives that you otherwise would not have thought of.

Be mindful of the time

 Try setting a specific timeframe for each item in the agenda or for the entire meeting itself. As much as possible, don’t go beyond your allotted time to avoid creating a bad habit of dwelling too much on a singular concern, unless the matter at hand is very urgent and needs immediate resolution.

Also part of time management is dealing with people who come in late. Never allow people to delay meetings just because they cannot make it to the meeting venue on time. Create a rule that imposes performance-impacting consequences on whoever comes in late. Or, if you want to make it more fun, have latecomers do something in front of everyone that would make them never be late again.

Make a habit of summarizing what has transpired in the meeting

The purpose of wrapping up and doing a quick summary is to refresh everyone’s minds on the critical points of the meeting, especially for those people who refuse to take down notes or when the meeting has stretched out too long that some people may forget things.

It also allows you to accordingly set forthcoming meetings to tackle concerns that need further discussion, or tasks that need to be tracked for progress in a particular time in the future.

 

Being a business owner, you need to be able to make the most of meetings with people that help you achieve your goals. Don’t allow old routines and unproductive behaviors turn your meeting into something pointless and dull.

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