Meetings can be said as the laboratories of real and measurable teamwork. Meetings are very important to coordinate individual efforts and collaborate on multiple projects, solve problems, sell ideas and make consensus based decisions. However, not all meetings are actually required. Meetings are the gatherings of two or more than two people to accomplish an ultimate decision.
Many meetings are often attended by more people than required. However, there are more productive and efficient ways to meet the objectives without holding a meeting. Some of these alternatives include – video conference, phone call, email, teleconferencing etc. One needs to decide if the meeting is necessary. It is crucial to define your objectives, before you schedule or attend your next meeting. If you have determined that meetings are the best option to carry the objective of your team, then you should start to organize an effective meeting.
Golden rules for efficient meetings
Meeting is a major pain point for many of the clients who strive to achieve organizational health. Below are five golden rules that reclaim control of your meetings and make them a productive tool.
- Held meetings on a regular basis. A healthy team always makes use of meetings to take important decisions.
- Be prepared and make sure that all the participants are informed well in advance. Stick to the schedule without fail.
- Stay on topic during the discussion. Do not deviate from the topic or talk about irrelevant things in the meeting.
- Don’t hold unnecessary meetings without accessing the situation and how often they are needed. It is important to evaluate the cost of the meeting. One should call the right people rather than stuffing irrelevant people.
- Wrap the meetings with a clear statement that define the steps. If any decisions are made in the meeting, the organizer or facilitator should summarize what needs to be done.
The above simple rules can go a long way in making the meeting effective and productive. It is not easy to implement these rules. It needs a lot of preparation, skills and discipline to make a huge difference to the productivity of your organization.
Tips to run effective meetings
One of the most important things is to enhance management skills and hold effective meetings. There are a series of things that are recommended to keep in back of your mind. Below tips help you to run effective meetings with much ease.
1. Start with a purpose
To hold effective meetings, one should start with an outline of the purpose. The first 5 to 7 minutes in any meeting is very important and helps you conduct effective meetings. It sets a strong foundation, established parameters and organizes the term of reference. Meeting tells everybody in the meeting that what they are and what they need to accomplish. Enhance your management skills during the meeting by being specific and punctual with timing. Make sure to announce the duration of meeting. This should be printed at the top of the agenda. Do not penalize people by making them wait for others. Begin the meeting on right time.
2. Encourage open discussions and opinions
It is very important to get opinion from every single individual. You should not only touch people who have important information to contribute, but people who are shy and less likely to speak up. Make sure that anybody in the meeting is dominating others. Being a leader, you should avoid hogging the discussion. If possible, assign the meeting responsibility to others to build subordinate skills. This is a great way to give employees the opportunity to build management skills.
Make sure that they learn a lot from planning the meeting. This will ultimately help you run effective meetings. Keep the discussion on track by bringing people back to the issue. By keeping the discussion back to the main issue, you will be able to conduct effective meetings and save time.
3. Establish and make use of ground rules
Ground rules are the rules that are agreed by the group that help them facilitate productive decisions. Whether the group formulates ground rules or the facilitator presents them, all the group members should reach to a conclusion on the ground rules. These rules should be written on a paper and taped to the wall or board for everyone to see.
Ground rules can lay expectations of the way things should be done at the meetings. Some of the ground rules include – start on time, stick to the agenda of meeting, respect different viewpoints and so on
The meeting should be concluded by summarizing the discussion and decisions made. It should include the tasks delegated and actions required by the participants. You should address the items placed in bin or place them in the agenda for next meeting, if there is some time. It is much easier to schedule the next meeting while everyone is there at the table.
5. Maintain a record
It is essential to distribute the meetings of minutes within 24 hours. The most important decisions should be distributed in writing so that if they have questions they can get back to you. If they are no questions, they mean that the record of meeting is accepted by the members. This is the final step and is very important for conducting effective meetings.
The responsibility of successful meeting rests equally with everyone in the group. A well planned agenda and ground rules are the important keys to run effective meetings. You can make the meetings productive and at the same time fun. It is easy to get caught up in the pressure of meeting. So, remember that the best results come from groups who discuss their mistakes and take pride in their efforts.
Effective meeting need proper structure and order and is more than sending a notice that your team is there to meet at anytime and anywhere. With a solid objective and perfect agenda, you are on your way to chair great meetings. Meetings matter a lot because organizations use them to make important decisions and support the required change.