How to Conduct a Productive Meeting
When it’s time for your daily, weekly or monthly team meeting, do you take a deep breath, close your eyes and prepare yourself for an hour of wasted time?
Meetings can take a huge chunk out of your day – so it’s really important that you make sure they’re productive. After all, if they’re only there for the sake of being there, then wouldn’t you be better off doing something else with that time?
So here are four great ways to make sure your meetings are as productive as possible.
1. Have a Clear Purpose
What do you want the result of this meeting to be? Whether it’s to come up with a few ideas for a new product, or whether it’s to crunch a solid solution to a business issue you’ve been facing, it’s important you map out what the aim of the meeting is in advance. Make sure you only invite the people in who really need to be there – after all, asking your head of development to take part in a meeting where the aim is to source a new window cleaner is hardly productive (unless of course your head of development knows a really good window cleaner!)
2. Don’t Check Tasks; Check Outcomes
If you only focus on checking which tasks have been completed, you might be setting yourself up for a demotivating meeting. We don’t all hit every single deadline every single day, after all. Instead, focus on the outcomes of attendees’ recent activities – sure, they might not have finished that product; but what was achieved during the time they were trying to? If you focus on results instead of specific tasks, you’ll have a much clearer picture of where you are and what needs to be done next.
3. Start and Finish On Time
If you’re in the habit of turning up to meetings late and then running over by an hour or two, then you probably won’t have the most attentive audience while the meeting is taking place. Attendees will likely be wondering on how much of their lunch break they’re going to miss, instead of focusing on the purpose of the meeting. But if you make sure to start and finish exactly on time every time – even if it means missing some of the agenda out completely in favour of a punctual finish – then your attendees will know that, whatever happens, they have a set time to be attentive for. And guess what? They will probably be attentive the entire time.
Meetings should never be one-way streets – if you only called everybody in to talk to them, and not with them, then you’ll never find out if they’ve all clearly understood, nor if there are other issues you were unaware of before. Give people chance to speak; ask questions; and remember to listen to their responses.
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