12 ways to make meetings more effective
Meetings are essential for company growth. It is a time where the founder and team members sit to discuss and map out strategies to improve the business. However, most meetings companies hold do not end up being productive. They are instead a waste of both the management and employees’ time.
Most employees dread meetings because of how monotonous it has become, adding no value or impact. Meetings should be a time where the management updates the employees about the happenings in the company and what they expect of them. Follow these techniques to invigorate your company’s meetings and make them effective.
Everyone should come prepared
Meetings should be routines where everyone comes to a boardroom, take their seat, and listen to someone read from a scroll. It should be more than that. Inform every employee to come prepared.
If there is a topic for discussion, let the attendees know before the meeting so they can contribute rather than seating there waiting for your speech to be over. Ask questions to see how prepared they came. It shows how serious they take the meetings and adds liveliness to the meeting.
Keep the size small
Not everyone needs to be in a meeting. You should only select people you will need their opinion when it’s time to contribute. If you feel someone should not be there, inform them so they could focus on their daily tasks rather than whiling away time doing nothing.
Pick a temperament
Do you want your meeting to be relaxed and spontaneous, or do you want it rigid and stick to the meeting agenda?
You could choose to hold a meeting to make relevant updates and allow employees to raise related issues and let the meeting flow naturally, which may result in new ideas that could help the company.
You can also decide to stick to an agenda to ensure that you and the team discuss every topic listed there before the end of the meeting without giving room to interruptions.
Consider the meeting length
Long and short meetings are beneficial for a company depending on what gets discussed and the company culture. Some companies might benefit from a long meeting held once a week, while others will have to break there’s into minutes spreading throughout the week. For example, the CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer holds about 70 meetings per week, but she makes sure they don’t last more than 10 minutes.
Find out how the length of your meeting sessions are affecting other decision-makers and employees asked to join. If they feel tired and less motivated after every session, consider cutting the length. But if there isn’t always enough time to discuss the issue on ground, you may want to extend it.
Select a decision-maker
This decision-maker would be like the moderator in a meeting only that he or she gets to be the one responsible for drawing a conclusion in a meeting and deciding to move on to another topic of discussion of sorting out the present issue.
It might not work for every company, especially when the employees are opinionated, but prior debate before making the decision will help.
Do some evaluations
If you feel company meetings are not as productive as you think it should be, do some assessments. Try something different and observe if it’s better than the previous. Ask for inputs from the employees to see what you can do better. If you’ve been holding long meetings, try shorter ones.
Add some features to see if it brings liveliness. Ask for feedback from employees to see if the new strategy is working.
Meetings are meant to stimulate the mind and intellect and not for an endurance test. Increase creativity and productivity by improving the effectiveness of their meetings.
End meetings with decisions
Most meetings are for brainstorming and decision making. So, of what use is a meeting that has no conclusion on a decision?
If you’ve called a meeting for decision making, it is necessary to ensure that the focus of the meeting stays on the topic of discussion until the team comes up with a decision.
Avoid distractions that lead to inconclusive meetings because going back and forth, calling for meetings on the same topic can be exhausting for your employees and even you. So unless it’s unavoidable, ensure that every session ends with a decision made.
Call for a stand-up meeting
Once in a while, you can throw in variety to the style of meeting held. You can consider a stand-up session. Rather than having employees seated and lost in thoughts, the meeting can become more active and interactive when everyone is on their feet discussing pressing issues. Ideas even come faster when standing than seating. So, it’s beneficial for everyone in the company.
You can also call for an outdoor meeting if the weather permits. Pleasant weather mixed with the fresh air can do a lot for your meeting sessions. And rather than arranging seats outside for meetings, you can make it a walking meeting.
Seating in a place for long hours is capable of leaving the employees dull and unable to contribute intelligently to discussions.
Use meeting technology
You can plan and track the progress of your meetings and make them more efficient by using software programs such as LessMeeting and UberConference. With both software, you can organize your meeting before the scheduled date and ensure everyone complies with the line of action.
The LessMeeting software helps the manager create a detailed agenda along with time allocations and send to everyone that should be in the meeting. It also allows then assign an action to be taken by employees during the meeting and ensuring they get executed immediately it ends.
Call for meeting only when necessary
The idea of holding a meeting every day to discuss what employees did that day or a day before can become frustrating and tiresome. Meetings should be about addressing urgent issues and making decisions. Updating meetings can happen once in a while, but not daily.
Give breaks for a long meeting
If your meeting is going to take four hours like that of Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, include short breaks where meeting attendants can serve snacks or where people can stretch their legs before coming back for the concluding part of the meeting.
Stick to the time
Sometimes, you might want to have a certain number before opening a meeting. Doing this will leave the boardroom opened to chitchat and other distraction, which might be challenging to control when the session begins.