Deep inside, we all feel that meetings are lengthy and slightly frustrating. Depending on the company, meetings can go from monthly to daily. Meetings can take an indefinite amount of time to adjourn and nothing comes out of it. Not only that meeting takes up time, but also lower the motivation of everyone involved if the meeting was unproductive. However, meetings are the only way to ‘sync’ goals and focus in the team. If you think meetings are a waste of resource because it takes too much time, just imagine that you want to communicate an idea to a group of people one at a time. Discussions will take way too long and it might fall through half-way too. Thus, meetings are so important but how do we create a great and effective meeting?
1. Determine your objectives
It is crucial that the person who chairs the meeting has clear objectives set out and communicated prior to the meeting. A goal to achieve would set the tone for everyone involved. Your employees will have expectations and is able to categorise each and every discussion is relevant or not. Having a discussion whereby everyone is focused and knows of the objectives to reach will create an effective meeting. Moreover, having objectives sieve through the people that we don’t need for the meeting thus maximising the use of resources.
2. Have ground rules in place
This is entirely up to your company and team. A few examples of useful ground rules are not allowing food brought in (a small snack bowl might be readily available), no phones allowed and other types of technology that can serve as a distraction. Rules like punishing the latecomer to buy coffee for the people involved in the meeting might also be an incentive to make sure people turn up on time.
3. Sticking to a timeframe
Once the objectives are set out, a timeframe is created to ensure the time used is maximised. However, discussions cannot be constrained too tightly to a fixed time. In my personal experience, when having a strict timeframe to obey, people tend to rush to decisions. Although decisions were made in a jiffy, it might be revised again because of the lack of discussions that actually went on in the short timeframe. This bracket of time is a guide to how long a discussion can be and may be used as a sign for performance improvement.
4. Have documentations done
It is so important to have minutes for a meeting. The biggest lie that we always tell ourselves is that we will remember what we discuss. This applies too almost anything from classrooms to lecture halls. It can be done by paper or using an online software like Asana. If you prefer doing it by hand, make sure that the minutes are short and concise. Get the gist of the meeting discussions and write it down. You don’t have to write every single word. Furthermore, be prepared and read about the objectives of the meeting and on the people who are attending it. It makes it easier and less awkward to know the names.
There are only a few reasons why meetings should be held. Some of it are; to communicate information that needs to be discussed, to investigate an issue from multiple perspective, to think and create together, to make a strong informed decision and to generate commitment and relationships.
Meetings may feel like something dreadful especially first thing on a Monday morning or late Sunday evening. However, we should change our perception because meetings are opportunities. Opportunities which brings multi-talented people together and share their thoughts. Great meetings will result in great relationships, improved performance and great ideas. Now, review how your meeting is run. Does it need to be redesigned or disbanded altogether?