Meetings can be one of two things—efficient and quicker than going back and forth on email OR a time suck with very little ROI for that hour you can’t get back.
It can be very frustrating when meetings are scheduled to discuss a topic that can easily be handled in a simple email (see our email etiquette tips) or 5 minute phone call. The worst is when you have to do a follow up meeting about a meeting you did recently. If you want to avoid having a meeting about a meeting, this is for you. Here are 10 key points to consider to make your next meeting productive and not put you over the edge.
1. Have an agenda. Distribute this beforehand so you can stay on track and easily take notes. Send this out to your team prior to the meeting. This can help ensure everyone is on the same page and gets your team to start thinking of any questions they may have in advance.
2. Stay on topic. Often times meetings can turn into brainstorm sessions – which isn’t a bad thing, but it can detract from the original goal of the meeting. Schedule a follow up meeting for flushing out new ideas if necessary.
3. Assign takeaways from the meeting. Employees will feel their time was better spent if they leave the meeting with an action item.
4. Keep it under 60 minutes. No one enjoys a long-drawn out meeting. Keep it short, simple and sweet. Your team will be more engaged, too!
5. Organize meeting notes in advance, and have all contributors draft talking points before it starts. If there’s something that needs to be presented, prepare all options before so you can easily discuss them, make a decision and move on without spending time shuffling through emails, websites, etc. to find the info you need.
6. Don’t get on tangents. If you’re in a “big picture” meeting, don’t go into little tiny details that won’t be relevant until weeks down the road. Likewise, if you are in a details meeting, be ready to take decisive action and not discuss the possibilities endlessly with no real resolution at the end.
7. Save personal questions for a different time. Nobody wants to hear about things that aren’t going to contribute to the greater good of the meeting. Last thing you want to do is irritate your co-workers.
8. Keep feedback to the end. If you already have guidelines on specific topics that need to be covered, it can help you stay on track and avoid going off on tangents when you go over your prepared feedback at the end so as to not drag things out more than necessary.
9. Limit feedback time. Set the guideline in advance that each participate has only 5 minutes to present their questions and replies. You don’t want to inspire others to tune you out so keep it brief and impactful.
10. Have meetings only when necessary. Don’t be one of those people that makes others come to a meeting just to have another meeting about another meeting.
xo, Leila Lewis, WeddingPR