Unproductive meetings are often a result of poor planning or the inability to stay on task and discuss the topics at hand. More often than not, meetings can turn into rambling chitchat, heated off topic debates and ultimately become an ineffective waste of time. The good news is that meetings don’t have to be like this!
Here are 8 tips to help you run a more effective and productive meeting:
1. Plan. When you send the calendar invite, clearly know and state the purpose of your meeting. Want to rock it a little more? Attach your agenda. Oh, yeah. You’re ready.
2. Invite carefully. Only invite necessary people and be sure they have a role in the meeting.
3. Order a shut-down. On devices, that is. Politely ask everyone to silence their smartphones, tablets, etc. If it becomes an issue, you can go so far as to ban them from meetings or create a drop-box for them at the door.
4. Stick to the schedule. Remember that agenda you attached with the invite? Follow it. Watch the clock, read your people’s reactions and own your meeting.
5. Derail monopolizers. Every company has one – the person who has a comment for everything and loves to own the floor. Don’t let this happen. Kindly let the person know that you appreciate their contributions, but you need input from everyone.
6. Make assignments. Ask for ownership and write attendees’ names next to tasks. Use a white board or projection screen so everyone can see.
7. Review assignments. You may feel a bit redundant restating the assignments, but this is key to getting the follow up you need. Run through the list before the close of your meeting as a concise summary. State expectations for assignments and reconfirm due dates.
8. Follow up. When the meeting is finished, you likely aren’t. Be sure to follow up on any items you are responsible for and to hold others accountable for their pieces.