I’ve been meeting a lot of people lately, discussing ideas, helping improve their business, online marketing advice and a lot of other things. Usually I meet them over weekends, meet them casually, have coffee and talk business. As I do these more and more, I’m learning a lot of things about conducting meetings and what I’ve been doing wrong the past couple of years. Here are some tips that will help you deliver meetings that the participants find value in and are interested in attending!
Start the meeting with something different.
I’ve found that starting a meeting with something that has nothing to do with the reason you are meeting or a specific business topic helps create the right kind of connection between everyone in the room or at the meeting table. Talk randomly about anything be it a movie that you saw last week or any interesting piece of news you read somewhere. It might look like a waste of time but you’ll that this will fill the room with interest and people who may not be very open to talking (shy) will speak more/voice themselves better in the meeting. Sometimes starting your meeting with a funny picture, story or even a joke can be very interesting.
Value Everyone’s Time
It’s very easy for us to create 30min or 60min meetings because Google Calender or Outlook does so. But ask yourself, do you really need 60minutes to discuss this? If you need 20mins, take 20, if you need 10, just take 10mins, hop into a conference room with a piece of paper, talk stuff, gather info and go right back to your work. Short, quick meetings are the most productive ones. If you only use the minutes needed rather than scheduled, there will be new believers in your system resulting in greater engagement and participation.
Be Prepared for the Meeting
I’ve been to meetings where I did not know what the meeting was about, neither did the leader/host of the meeting. Meetings like these are a waste of everyone’s time. Prepare an agenda for everyone meeting, share it with everyone attending the meeting and ask them to add/remove any points they think are required. Ask everyone to review the agenda before the meeting or better, just pop it up on the LCD screen/projection minutes before the meeting begins. You will see that it becomes much easier to get through your meetings and reach to the core topic of the meeting. This shows everyone that you care about their time and you’ll see overtime people are on time for every meeting and very well prepared.
Follow up Your Meeting with an Email
It takes 5 minutes to put together all the points you discussed in the meeting and the actionable points along with the name of the person who will be taking the action/responsibility. If you take these 5mins right after the meeting and send an email out to everyone, not only will find that almost all your meeting action points will start getting completed but you’ll also appear very organized and gain respect from everyone on your team. The email should have the Recap, Time-line, Action Items, People assigned to each action and next steps.
Talk to Everyone if They Don’t Talk to You
In every meeting you’ll see people who are reserved, shy, hesitant or quit. Mostly people ignore them and move on with their own agenda therefore you may never get their inputs. This needs to change. Some of them may have great ideas but you need to ask them, “Did we miss anything?”. This question, asked at the end of every meeting will provide them an opportunity to talk, contribute and make your meeting more result-oriented.
Do you really need a Meeting?
I cannot count how many times I have been called into a meeting when the whole point of the meeting was one single question and something that could have been asked in an email. People sometimes get too obsessed with meetings and forget that it needs to be kept simple. If you think you need DISCUSS something that would take more than 10 minutes, ask for a meeting, otherwise just drop an email and find out if you really need one. You’ll be surprised how many times you’ll find solutions just by email discussions.
Hope these tips help you make the most out of your meetings and increase your office productivity.