It is a well-known accepted fact that meetings consume the most productive hours of the day and thus impact efficiency of the workers. How do you conduct effective meetings?
In meetings, colleagues, co-workers and bosses normally end up discussing on an issue for hours and deliberating on ideas, without actually making efforts to get them accomplished in the shortest possible time.
How do you conduct effective meetings and keep employees engaged?
As a manager it is your responsibility to conduct meetings, with brevity and productivity as the key focus areas instead of discussion and deliberation as the means to accomplishment. Meetings are a powerful tool to collaborate, ideate and implement strategies for business excellence.
However, this tool is more commonly misunderstood and for obvious reasons the meeting time is under-utilised to derive productive outcomes. Some simple measures if followed for meetings will help meet the business objectives and serve purpose of team collaboration time as well.
Make meetings an exception and not a rule. One of the primary questions to be answered is, “Do you really need a meeting? If yes, why do you need the team to meet?”
Then align the objectives to be achieved from this meeting and set a timeline for the goals to be accomplished. Many at times, managers fail to realise that meetings are absolutely unnecessary, unless it specifically involves elaboration on the employee feedback, emailing newsletters and other productive methods to be newly formulated by the company.
See: 5 Proven Ways of Team-building you should try
As you list down the objectives, make sure to have an agenda for the meeting and always ensure that you focus on issues that need immediate attention during the meetings, instead of diverging focus to areas of lesser interests.
The agenda will help you accomplish results before the end time, but will also allow the team members to stay focused on their goals. This will further avoid confusion and clutter of information on the minds of some staffers.
For frequently held meetings such as a weekly status reports on a project, you can save time by creating a meeting template. Once you have that in place, preparing an agenda becomes a matter of just filling in the blanks.
As major decisions are taken during meetings with consent of the team, those that include projects which need to be funded and cancelled require pre-wiring. The pre-wiring in essence means you communicate to the team before hand with the help of newsletter or emails on an upcoming project/initiative, and allow them thinking time to come back and share their view points during the meeting.
The pre-wired concept helps enhance the success of a meeting. Further, you can take notes for yourself on what was discussed during the meet and what needs to be accomplished within a time span. The minutes of the meetings can then be shared with all co-workers and the entire team or staff, to make them aware of the happenings within an organisation.
Review and rate the effectiveness of your meeting before completion. Set a plan of action for the team along with a timeline within which the task has to be accomplished.
One of the best approaches to ensure that the meeting was effective is to ask the team members on the points they gathered from this entire team effort and draw upon them. This will help others who weren’t so actively involved in the meeting to understand the plan of action expected post the meet.
It will also help managers derive and dwell on the flaws of the current meeting, what worked well and wrong, suggestions to incorporate in the future meetings. You can also possibly pass out a short questionnaire and ask the team to rate the meeting based on several factors such as actionable items, speaker expertise, length of the meeting, quality content etc.
If you keep the mode of feedback in written, you have better chances to expect more honest opinions and feedback from the team to make the meeting time, a productive effort.
Also read: Virtual Teams: Getting People to Work Apart
Image credits: businessinsider.com