When conducting a meeting, your core responsibility is to plan and design the strategies. It helps to uplift ideas, engage employees and discuss the project in depth. However, the key step is to design an effective meeting revolving around its purpose. Once the goal is obvious, communicate to other concerned people, and plan strategies that support the insightful involvement of all those attendees. Sharing the agenda and purpose of the meeting helps the members to think about it and make up their minds accordingly.
Important decisions and discussions occur during meetings, but it is the most complained part. Whenever the meeting is conducted poorly, the problem isn’t with the concept of meetings but how most leaders plan, conduct, and evaluate them—this results in wasting time, energy, and, eventually, money. The following strategies for effective meetings will support you conduct them more effectively, enhancing participation, and achieving your envisioned and projected objectives.
1. Do Proper Preparation And Clarify The Purpose
For a practical meeting, the first strategy is to prepare yourself and clarify the purpose of the meeting. It is a big reason for the failure of a conference not to conduct a meeting after preparation. So, before sending an invitation to participants, always have a well-prepared outline. A planned meeting will always deliver positive results. The members focus more and feel lost in the process. Great meetings are always based on decisions, which are carried out with the appropriate preparation and purpose. There is also an opportunity to introduce new members or guest presenters. Before a meeting, the following matters are important to consider:
- Think about the meeting; why are you conducting the meeting? Make the mind about strategies and their outcomes and results.
- Secondly, make a mind what the decisions that you want to get a result are.
- Was it important to conduct a meeting? Can an email, phone calls, or some means of communication accomplish the process well?
Once the purpose is shaped, find out the meeting’s noticeable output:
- What will they have in their Heads? (acquaintance, information, awareness)
- What will the members have in their Hands (deliverables, materials, or action plan)
- What will be in their Hearts? (morals, Opinions, commitments)
Proper preparation with a clear purpose is essential for a persuasive meeting. You will conduct meeting more confidently and concisely without wasting time. It is valuable to convey the message or planning strategy better without ambiguity.
2. Always Have An Agenda
After defining your purpose, a good meeting must always have a well-planned project. And like any other project, it requires a set of goals and an agenda that clearly defines and explains what needs to be executed. Sending or sharing the agenda with participants helps them to prepare accordingly. An agenda will support follow ways.
- · Another reason for setting the agenda is that it always clears the need to call the meeting or not. Otherwise, you can seek other communication channels, such as phone calls or emails.
- · An agenda tells the participants what will be discussed and how to prepare them accordingly. It helps keep the meeting conversation to the point without distraction and staying focused on the objective. Therefore, meetings will have a more meaningful impact.
- Setting an agenda will help to think about core issues and topics. Your team will go deep into the sub-topics and specific questions. Thinking about the prospects gives you a good starting point.
It is better to allocate time and involve members in discussing agendas. It will ensure that all the points have been covered, especially if there are many topics to discuss. Once you have finalized the agenda, it’s better to share it with all participants before conducting the meeting. This way, all the members will know what will be discussed during the meeting.
3. Engage Everyone During Meeting
A meeting is only productive if all participants actively participate in the discussion. All participants must be allowed to contribute by proposing new ideas or suggestions, asking questions, or volunteering to take responsibility for follow-up action. It can be tempting to involve everyone keeping in mind the time factor. There are a few ways to get input from participants to comprise:
- Regularly ask for feedback during the meeting, especially those who have yet to speak up and remain silent.
- Engaging the team in brainstorming exercises that lead to idea generation is important.
- Involve a selected number of persons to perform follow-up tasks and present their conclusions at the next meeting.
You must encourage participants to take part actively. You can allow all participants at any time to get their feedback. For instance, you may inquire questions about the new motives and directives. That way, it’s clear that you’re taking input for more positive outcomes. As the decision has already been made, only asking for more participation will make the meeting more authentic.
Be careful while scheduling the meeting that the participants are available at that time. Meetings should be manageable and exciting. It must hold participants’ attention and use everyone’s time efficiently through engaging procedures and definitive results. Keeping all the participants engaged means that the team doesn’t get stagnant and upholds the agenda moving forward to action.
There are a few ideas to keep the participants engaging
- The duration of the meeting must be moderate. It must be a short time to feel fed up or short not to grasp the core points of the meetings.
- Through an experiential activity, the participants will interact and communicate engagingly on a deeper level.
- Using PPT or video conference tools
4. Timely Start And Timely End
It is reasonable to allow participants to gather at a place and mingle for a few moments before starting the meeting. However, starting the meeting and finishing it on time is important. Before the commencement of the meeting, look for strategic ways for participants and close the door rooms once they have entered. You can tell any of the members to shut the doors. It is just an indication to all members that the meeting will start.
Sometimes, you may run short of time. You can handle this tactfully by telling the members that it was a great discussion. I do not want to cut it short, but the meeting will be close soon as we are running up time. Is there a need to schedule a follow-up meeting? You can take suggestions at that time. At the end of the meeting, you appreciate the active participation effort and valuable suggestions of all members.
Another good piece of advice is if you have fewer instructions to convey or if the purpose of the meeting has already been met. You can call a short meeting. This way, you can save time or allow them to return to the workday. It will be an appreciative step for the coworkers. There will be no waste of time, and all the required criteria will be fulfilled within a limited time.
5. Take Notes
A meeting offers an opportunity to acquire all the objectives and points. These points may be related to suggestions, actions, key decisions, or open-minded questions. It is also worth typing your meeting notes on a screen that upholds all participants to be alert, attentive and responsible. It enhances understanding and keeps the conversation focused. Actively engaging with the topic by listening and then taking notes on what everybody hears helps to understand and remember the information later. It adds the benefit of collective understanding leading to clarity.
All the meetings cost time and money. It is so prioritizing the main elements and eliminating the unnecessary elements results in more productivity. Recording on flip charts in the meeting room is an encouraging way to take notes. The people can see and review before they add their thoughts. That also helps not to miss the contribution. It is also helpful for late arrivals. They can catch up through notes without any recap. Your team members will appreciate your effort.
6. Direct The Discussion
Sometimes, during brainstorming, the discussion can be strolled off. Some questions and discussions might come up at random points throughout the meeting. Make sure you take the meeting discussion on the right track according to purpose. These digressions may be valuable, but most of the time, these are not feasible or applicable, resulting in wasting time. At this point, it is important to interfere tactfully to bring the conversation back to the required agenda. However, by adding regular recaps, the agenda can always be noticed. Consider the following strategies to focus on the meeting
- If there is an endless digression, recommend and schedule a separate meeting.
- Makes notes of noteworthy points and discusses these points in a separate meeting.
- You can respectfully state that the conversation is off the track and that you want to steer it back to a purpose or main goal.
- You can assign duty to any of the members to keep an eye and case of distraction from focal points and try to bring it back to the core objectives without any delay
7. Clarify The Difference Between Facts And Opinions
Although a meeting is beneficial due to participant viewpoints and opinions, it must have a realistic approach based on facts and data that help the team make decisions and progress. A team’s project is likely to seek success only if individual guesses or estimations steer activities. As an alternative, different reports, analyses, and data will prove to be a more effective guide for team discussion and action. One operative method is to ensure clarity between fact and opinion in a meeting based on data.
Conversely, discussion based on assumptions without facts and figures may lead to futile outcomes. It would not help to come across the meeting agendas or fully discuss, investigate or meet the outcomes.
8. Make Sure You Follow Up With A Message
Feedback is the backbone of effective communication. The final step helps the members to stay on track and improve future meetings. An effective meeting needs follow-up, as every member will know what expectations are and what actions they must take. After managing the notes during the meeting, you can send them to all participants. If there are any follow-up items, add these to your list or keep track. If there is a need for a follow-up meeting, follow these and schedule them to avoid any conflict in the future. There are three steps to evaluate the meeting outcomes for proper feedback.
- Each group member should allocate 0 to 10 ratings and write these without advice or instructions.
- Ask the participants about one aspect they liked
- Ask one thing that ought to improve or can be done differently
Proper Follow up after a meeting ensures that vital information is recovered. It helps to recall what was discussed and agreed upon. Whether the meeting follow-up is through an email to the team or a discussion in a subsequent meeting, it assists in addressing the key decisions that need to happen.
5 Proven Tips for Effecting Meetings
1. Having A Clear Objective
The objective of a meeting must be to generate new ideas, gather information, or make decisions, or it is a combination of all. Make it clear what you want to achieve. Before the meeting, you can share primary and secondary objectives to meet the demands. A clear goal well-structured and concrete agenda will lead to a successful outcome and encouraging results after the meeting. The meetings are not social gatherings, but these are conducted to achieve the goals.
2. Establishing A Clear Agenda
A meeting agenda assists you and the participants in preparing for a meeting. It offers a guide through the matters you need to discuss. Time spent in forming an agenda will save time for all meeting participants and provide a clear set of topics, purposes, and time frames.
Before the meeting starts, an agenda should include
- A list of the topics that will be covered
- A brief explanation of the meeting’s objectives and goals
- The time and site of the meeting
- A list of participants attending the meeting
- Any important information about the subject
Your meeting goals should be fully placed and adjusted in your agenda. You can shape all of the critical steps to work towards achieving one or multiple goals by the end of your team meeting. On the other hand, If your team isn’t committed to strictly following a meeting agenda, the meeting isn’t likely to work out. Before you confirm the topics, subjects, or issues you’ll cover to reach your meeting goal. It is better to ensure you acquire your team members’ input and that their voices are heard.
3. Keep Your Meetings Brief
Having short meetings is an important element in improving your team’s efficiency. This time, the team’s attention will be sharp all the time. The participants will not get bored or distracted. A lot of information can be shared within a limited time by following the agenda. The longer the meeting, the more effort will be required to keep all the participants engaged and energetic. Try only to schedule a meeting that is an hour at maximum. The entire member will appreciate that their time is valuable.
4. Don’t Let Your Focus Wane
Every meeting must be based on something other than telling long stories connected to the discussed topic by a single person. It will drag the session. However, the hardest task is to keep the focus on the core purpose. The best way is to assign the duty to any member to take responsibility of guiding to bring back the Focus to the main topic. When a meeting has a clear focus, it is much easier to set and carry out these plans practically. With a clear focus and practical actions and plans, the meeting will be considered a wastage of time.
5. Don’t Ignore The Question & Answer
The meetings are an excellent place for practicing the skill. When a concrete action plan is established at the meeting, it is crucial to follow the question and answer session. The question and answer session is asked at the end of the meeting. If this session is not followed, the result can spell disaster. The meeting outcome will be the least, and there would be just a waste of time.
Collecting questions in advance for a fruitful question-and-answer session is also good. It would be easy to plan the meeting accordingly rather than to take questions haphazardly at the end of the meeting. All meetings should be wrapped up with a list of the next steps after the question and answer session and allocated team members who will bring the results forward.
Conducting meetings is both an art and a critical skill. It enables us to move projects forward in a downy way. It’s important to check your meeting performance regularly, and this skill is attained through cultivating opportunities and implementing refined strategies. At the end of each meeting, ask yourself whether you met the goals. What can be improved? By regularly refining your meeting management skills, you will maximize the results of your discussion and build respect with your coworkers, who know that you are a person who is more practical and respects their time. If you want to improve output and teamwork and motivate your employees, think about adopting these strategies and tips for every meeting you schedule.