For most companies, meetings are necessary. To some, a necessary evil. Maybe it’s fun to have everyone together for a spell, but meetings ultimately take time out of each employee’s day that may be better spent elsewhere. Follow these tips to ensure you are conducting productive meetings, or to determine if you should be having meetings at all!
Make sure it should be a meeting
Few things are more annoying to employees than having a meeting that should have been an email. Unnecessary meetings waste valuable time in everybody’s day and hinder productivity and energy that is better used elsewhere. You can use our guide here to determine whether you should be having a meeting or sending an email.
Have an outline ready to go beforehand
You wouldn’t march into a battle without a strategy in place (hopefully), so don’t call a meeting without a plan to conduct it. Have an outline and bullet points of topics to be discussed ready to go prior to the start of the meeting. Knowing exactly what needs to be decided or brought up will make the meeting go much more quickly and smoothly.
Get started right away
There’s no need to let everyone banter and chit-chat for 20 minutes before getting down to business. Sure, start a couple of minutes late so stragglers can make it to their seats and say hello, but time wasted is productivity wasted. Get started on a productive meeting as quickly as possible! Also, if you’re starting meetings on time, people are less likely to be late the next time.
Say what you need to say… then end it
If a long-winded explanation of something isn’t necessary, don’t bother your employees with it. Say what you need to say, allow discussion if necessary, and then move on to the next topic. Dwelling on a topic unnecessarily tends to take the meeting off its tracks and results in pointless dialogue. Meaningful discussions should be had, but once a decision has been made or the conversation is no longer productive, move on.
Start with the important stuff first
If you start with the important items on your list, it ensures that those things are discussed before you’re out of time. Then you don’t risk not discussing those points at the meeting. It’s okay if you don’t get to the less important stuff, but make sure to tackle the big things first. It also may push your team into a more productive mindset if you start with the hard stuff. And getting into a productive mindset will definitely make for a more productive meeting.
Give everyone action items
A productive meeting should end with action items for each employee, otherwise it was simply informative and probably should have been an email. Delegating tasks at the end of a meeting keeps the key points of the meeting fresh in everyone’s minds, gives everyone the same goals, and ensures you’re all on the right page.
Email is preferred as it leaves a paper trail, but follow-up with your employees after the meeting to make sure they remember the important pieces of it and know their delegated tasks. If it was an informative meeting, a few bullet points about what was discussed is acceptable. Again, this keeps the meeting top-of-mind for everyone and creates a sense of urgency if needed to complete tasks.
By utilizing these tips, every meeting you conduct with your employees can be productive, insightful, and result in time well-spent.