Stop wasting valuable time and have more productive business meetings.
I have attended countless meetings over the years. Some have been productive business meetings, being constructive and well planned. While others have been a complete waste of everyone’s time, and have dragged on for hours. Horror! Some businesses even have meetings… to discuss meetings. If you want to have useful and productive business meetings you can, if you follow these ten steps.
How to hold productive business meetings:
1. Have a Purpose – If you don’t have a single purpose for a meeting, you shouldn’t need to have one. You should be able to state in five to eight words exactly why you are planning a meeting. If you can’t, reconsider.
2. Produce an Agenda – Based off your purpose statement, write a meeting agenda. Micromanage each moment of the meeting in terms of who will speak, what they’ll speak about, and how long they have to do it.
3. Set a Time Limit – Meetings do not have to be lengthy to be productive. Some companies have a standard 15- 30 minute meeting rule. Use your meetings to report on what each person has done or needs to do to meet a goal, and to assign new work.
This may sound drastic…
4. Ban tech – That might seem a little strange. But multitasking at meetings is counter-productive. Tell those who are invited not to bring phones, laptops or any electronics. This will make everything move smoother because no one will be distracted. The only people needing tech will be the person chairing the meeting and the person assigned to take minutes.
5. Assign Tasks – Make someone responsible by directly assigning tasks to persons who can either be responsible for the people doing the work, or do the tasks themselves. By having a person of responsibility, you can avoid passing of the buck and making everything your job. Delegation before, during and after meetings is essential.
Every attendee needs to have a reason to be there
6. Keep the attendee list small – Only invite the people to the meeting that will have something to do. There is no point in having anyone at a meeting or part of a meeting if they aren’t going to leave with something to do. For instance, if you have a project manager, invite them. But there is no reason to invite the people the project manager manages.
7. Start and End on Time – Set a start time and an end time, and stick to it. Start on time and don’t allow late people to show up late. If they’re late they simply miss the meeting. The reason is that late people, for whatever reason, will cause delays and interrupt the flow. Also make a point of avoiding small talk and going off topic.
8. Give Each Person Input Time – Anyone coming to the meeting should have been given an assignment of what to talk about at the meeting, and they should be given time to talk. Sometimes one or two people will take over a meeting and the others do not get a chance to give input. Make sure that each person gets an opportunity.
9. Assign a Minute Taker – One person should be the official minute taker. If you haven’t got any admin staff capable of taking the minutes. Hire a Virtual Assistant. Within a few hours they will send everyone a copy of the meeting minutes, which will include a list of tasks and to whom they’ve been assigned.
After the Meeting
10. Follow Up – After a meeting is over, it’s important to check up on anyone who was given tasks to do, but also to drop everyone who attended an email with the meeting minutes (as mentioned above) as well as an opportunity to edit the record. Ensure that everyone who attended is on the same page.
Meetings are necessary for a business. By having meetings that address a specific purpose, assigning responsibility to the right people and having frequent follow-ups, you’ll find that you will have more productive business meetings.