9 steps to have more effective meetings
Sep 02, 2019
Many companies keep falling into the trap of meetings that are recurrent yet not very effective, it is important to put into practice several elements so that the participants’ time is not wasted; they could be performing other tasks that are important to their positions.
It’s important to mention that there are meetings that cannot be avoided, and that staff from each area has to attend so that the team functions better and of course, is more productive.
Many times, the frequency of the meetings is overused, and in most cases, they are open to all the areas of the business even when it’s not necessary, and those people attend but are not able to be productive during that time.
Often we hear from companies with all types of operations and in all types of industries, how middle and top management colleagues constantly complain about the number of meetings they must attend and about the time they feel they are wasting every day. When in most cases, they are simply listening to discussions, gossip and reprimands, and specific agreements are not reached, and commitments from each area of the company are not made.
In order to have effective meetings, we first have to find out the main reasons they are considered failures, and then, avoid those reasons.
- The objective(s) of the meeting are not clear or specific for the attendees.
We have to have clear objectives set prior to the meeting so that the participants know exactly what will be discussed during the meeting, can come prepared, and a more effective discussion can take place in order to find solutions to the problems.
- Bad planning in terms of time, place, and attendees.
Many times we forget to consult with the participants if there’s a time that works better for them to attend the meeting.
- Bad time management
When there isn’t a set agenda to review the important issues, the meeting could go on and on without reaching the necessary objectives.
- There is no follow-up to the agreements and commitments
It is important to keep minutes, wherein the agreements and commitments, along with the name of the person responsible, are written down, so that follow-up can ensue and ensure that they are kept.
- The content is too broad.
Many times, too many issues want to be tackled in just one meeting, which causes stress without coming up with solutions, frustrating the attendees when they see the list of issues, they know the meeting will last longer than they thought and they’ll have to delay other commitments.
- Focus is lost.
This is one of the most important, it is necessary to have a list that everyone can see, of the specific subjects that will be reviewed during the session, with the amount of time allotted to each, so that it is easier for the attendees to keep their focus on the subject at hand.
How to plan effective meetings.
In order to have an effective meeting, you will have to consider the following:
- What type of meeting do you want to have?
- Who must attend?
- What specific subjects will be tackled?
- How much time will be allotted to each subject?
- How much time in total will the meeting take?
- When and where will the meeting take place?
- How will the roles and responsibilities of the meeting be assigned?
- Who will be responsible for the minutes?
- Who will be responsible for following up on what is agreed to?
Once all of the above has been considered, the attendees should be invited with a list of issues to be discussed and their allotted time-frames, as well as the responsibilities of each person present in the meeting.
Sometimes it is important to have specific information from a certain department in order to reach the objective of the meeting, make sure you let them know with as much notice as possible.
The most common roles for an effective meeting are as follows:
- Person responsible/coordinator of the meeting – generally the person that calls the meeting and who is responsible for defining the points we just saw previously.
- Moderator – person responsible for moderating the meeting and for giving the floor to the participants.
- Secretary – responsible for documenting the issues talked about during the meeting along with any agreements and who is responsible for them, as well as distributing the minutes to the participants.
- Timer – responsible for watching the time allotted to each subject and ensuring that all issues on the agenda are discussed and that they end within the designated time.
- Participants – they are the interested attendees on the subject of the meeting who will be able to share their point of view and who will be assigned responsibilities.
If these steps begin to be followed in your company’s meetings, surely you will start to notice the difference. Remember that changes take time and that you’ll have to be patient until the rest of you company’s associates adopt this more effective way of working, and with time you will all be able to enjoy the benefits.
It’s time to implement what we’ve learned and to let us know how it has worked out for you.
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