Unproductive meetings are a pet hate of many respected business people, who complain that pointless meetings gobble up their time, leaving them unable to get on with their “real work”. While meetings are an important way of businesses discussing issues, reaching agreements, sharing ideas and communicating strategies, many businesses suffer from having too many meetings. It’s easy to see why professionals tire of endless meetings when most of them are badly organised, unproductive and pointless. This article is intended to help professionals run business meetings efficiently and ensure that they are productive.
What’s This Meeting About?
One of the best ways to keep a business meeting focused and on-track is to stick to the agenda. The agenda is an important part of any meeting; giving attendees an accurate idea of what the meeting is about, what they will be expected to contribute and what the intended aims of the gathering are. Having a comprehensive agenda will help attendees prepare properly, meaning that more productive work can be achieved.
The agenda should be circulated amongst meeting attendees as early as possible, and it may help some individuals to decide if the meeting is a waste of their time or not. When developing a meeting agenda consider carefully where debate is likely to develop, and leave additional time to allow for this. To stop meeting over-running, you should try to stick to the agenda, or consider cutting it short and rescheduling the second half of the meeting.
Why am I Here?
One of the reasons many people get frustrated with meetings is that they don’t see their attendance as necessary. When inviting people to a meeting consider carefully who the essential attendees are. It can be difficult enough to schedule a meeting at everybody’s convenience, and the more people invited the less likely the meeting is to happen. There may be some people who you think should attend but who cannot for whatever reason. You can keep these individuals up to date on the outcome of the meeting by sending them the meeting notes.
When you invite people to the meeting, give them an idea about why they have been invited and how they will be expected to contribute.
If the meeting is information-heavy, and particularly if you would like attendees to consider something and feedback at the end of the meeting, then you should consider distributing handouts with important pieces of information on them. Of course attendees are free to make their own notes, but hand-outs can make things a lot easier and save them being distracted by taking notes.
One of the most important parts of any meeting is the actions. Meetings are usually scheduled in order for individuals to discuss matters and come to agreements and plans moving forward. Document these decisions and distribute them among attendees and other interested parties. Actions will help to ensure that the meeting is productive.
Adam Cairn writes on several subjects including London as a business conference destination.
Photo Credit: St Peter’s Community News