Do not raise your brows at me because I say I love meetings. I have spent hours of my life joining the intriguing moments where people come together to brainstorm and influence each other’s thoughts. However, fixing a fruitful meeting is an art that needs to be learnt by most chairpersons of meeting. Meetings form a vital part of every organization since they help build and enhance the dissemination of information, consensus building and generation of ideas. The bad news however is that managing effective meetings have become a challenge for most managers. They are swamped with so much work that they spend less time thinking through or planning meetings beforehand. This makes most meetings ineffective, inefficient and sometimes a waste of time. It is necessary for managers to plan meetings if they want to achieve a high yielding yet a short and concise meeting. Here are few tips that can be adopted to make your meetings more productive:
- Set a definite time frame
Research has proven that most humans lose concentration when one thing drags for more than 2 hours, thus meetings must be kept short and concise. Ideally meeting should be no longer than one hour and certainly not last more than two hours without a break. Anything longer will cause people to lose focus and attention. Show respect for the participants by adhering zealously to the schedule. Sticking to a schedule also forces you to keep the meeting focused.
- Invite the right people
The people who partake in a meeting determine how successful the meeting could be. It is recommended that you intentionally create a participants list of the necessary contributors whose presence is required at the meeting.
- Develop a clear agenda
Developing an agenda provides a structure and a road map to achieving a successful meeting. Know what you want to accomplish in the meeting and be purposeful in designing the agenda. Address the most important items first in developing an agenda and try circulating the agenda to all participants at least a day prior to the meeting. This way, everyone is prepared for the discussion and there are no last minute surprises.
- Aggressively manage discussion
A meeting is a forum for discussion, not delivery of information. The views of everyone should be taken into account and notes be taken of everything discussed during the meeting. Do not waste the group’s time on what participants can do individually; instead, use the power of the group for discussion. Strive to reduce the distractions that occur during the meeting; entertaining too many distractions can drag the meeting.
- Summarize the meeting
At the end of a meeting, be very deliberate and thoughtful about restating the decisions that have been taken by the group. Do a detailed recap of the meeting in a document and circulate to all participants to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Make your meetings as interesting, lively and as interactive as you can and be sure you would have everyone in your organization falling in love with meetings.