Meetings upon meetings upon meetings. Meetings to plan future meetings. We know the number of meetings foisted upon us can seem excessive and unnecessary, but there is a way to plan effective meetings that won’t have your employees running for the door. At New Quest, we provide leadership coaching and consulting for teams and organizations throughout Western Canada. We know our clients are pressured to constantly adapt to an ever-changing business climate and we can help – learning to plan effective, purposeful, well-executed meetings is a great place to start.
Here are some elements of an effective meeting:
Success happens well before the meeting begins. Having a clear purpose and agenda that includes the meeting’s specific objectives, topics, speakers, list of attendees, and time and location will set you up for success.
Keep the invites to a small, select group of people whose input and attendance is imperative. Everyone else can be informed via a brief summary through email. Keeping the invite list will allow for quicker decisions to be made by the people with the right knowledge and skillset to make them.
Whether that means standing up throughout the meeting, getting out of the office to re-energize those in attendance, or taking another creative approach to hosting meetings can lead to more engaged, collaborative results.
We aren’t all cut from the same cloth and we don’t all think the same way. That fact should be celebrated, not ignored. Therefore, you need to tap into the unique knowledge and personality traits of everyone on your team. Short, constructive meetings have their place, but at times allowing for a more interactive approach will produce positive results. Active, engaged participants bring creativity and energy to your meetings and can produce unexpectedly positive results. Consider allowing attendees to colour or utilize fidget gadgets or stress balls while in attendance. For many people, using these tools helps them focus and actively listen. They may not have their place in every meeting, but if you’re looking for idea generation and creative thinking, it’s okay to think outside the box.
This is easier said than done, but is vital to producing effective meetings. Meetings can tend to go way off topic and veer off course with personal anecdotes and endless rehashing of already stated information. Someone at the meeting needs to be in charge of guiding the group back to the assigned topics if and when this happens. With a clear focus you are able to produce actionable results and attendees won’t leave the meeting wondering what happened.
Meetings should not take more than an hour and even that is a stretch for many people. By assigning roles for each meeting, providing a timed agenda, and making sure everyone stays off their phones and computers as much as possible, your meeting will be efficient, structured and effective.
You’ve got the right people in the room. It’s important to let them speak. We’ve already stated how important it is to keep meetings short, so it may be a good idea to extend a question and answer period after the allotted meeting time. This will reduce pressure on the clock and make sure everyone feels heard. You can also consider requesting questions about the meeting’s topic before the meeting. You can then weave answers into your talk and possibly reduce the number of questions at the end.
These are just a few tips on planning effective meetings, but there are many more worthwhile ideas. If you need help running more effective meetings, reach out to us for Leadership Coaching. We are here to help you succeed.
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