Whilst some aspects of running a business, like increasing sales and paying less tax are often looked at, much less attention is paid to those all important meetings.
Unlike tax bills, there are no penalties for bad meetings. That doesn’t mean meetings are irrelevant – quite the contrary – they are what keeps your company on the straight and narrow. Additionally, they are a great way for your employees to discuss important topics and learn about company’s mission, vision, and culture. Badly run meeting that don’t accomplish anything are the same as pouring money down the drain when you consider the total loss of productivity hours. That is why super important to run them right.
Whilst a mediocre meeting is easy to run, no successful company was built on mediocrity. If you want to create truly exceptional meetings that give your company the edge, make sure to listen to these 8 expert tips!
1. Get A Good Venue
The quality of a meeting venue is often underestimated and should be considered as an important aspect of your criteria. Imagine how your meeting would run if there was a noisy football stadium right outside?
Booking a silent, comfortable venue is the first step towards employee satisfaction. Nobody wants to spend hours sitting on an uncomfortable chair, distracted by outside noise.
To get full employee engagement, you’ll need to minimise distractions. Close the doors, shut the windows, possibly even pull down the blinds. You will want 100% attention on the matters at hand. In the same vein, it can be a good idea to limit the usage of technology while in the meeting room.
2. Start And Finish On Time
Punctuation is extremely important for meetings. Starting late can leave the participants in a rather foul mood. With that in mind, prepare the venue and materials, if you need any, on time! There’s nothing worse than people waiting for the projector to start working or the computer to load up. To ensure that this doesn’t happen to you, go to the meeting venue at least 15 minutes before your colleagues arrive and set up everything to be ready.
Once you have your venue and materials prepared and the meeting has started, don’t forget that having a time limit prevents the meeting from falling into endless, pointless chatter. It gets everyone focused on the task at hand. Some people may like to bring up unrelated topics because there’s “enough time left”.
Of course, you can always end a meeting early, but once you set a time for it to finish, hold to it.
3. Invite Only Select Individuals
Mark from accounting probably has no business being in the meeting discussing your next marketing goals.
Inviting only the key players to your meetings is the quickest way to improve their effectiveness. Do your employees leave their meetings without speaking up, and without being given a task? In that case, there’s no need for them to be there.
If you want your employees to be informed about what occurs, then simply send out an email with the meeting recap.
4. Write A Summary
Connecting to the point above, having a summary of the meeting is useful both inside and out.
Sending it out for everyone to see will help your employees stay informed about the company direction. This leads to increased worker satisfaction and a better understanding of what they need to do.
Within the meeting, being able to provide a quick recap will help the people in it retain the information. It’s been proven that repeating something a short while after it has been said helps retention.
5. Encourage Participation
You want the participants of the meeting to be comfortable and ready to freely discuss the subject at hand. Asking for questions, or even asking them questions is a surefire way to get the discussion on the road.
Don’t let them daydream, and make sure that they engage within the meeting.
6. Be Clear About W.D.W.B.W
“Who does what by when?” Should be the first question on your mind while assigning tasks. Make sure that as much time as possible is dedicated to finding the answers to this.
Break down every task into sizeable chunks and designate them to people who are most suited for them. Make sure to be clear about deadlines, instead of saying “Can you do this by May?” say “Please finish this by the 26th of April”. This way you mitigate any misunderstandings.
7. Keep It Short
Meetings aren’t fun. That isn’t news for anyone, however many meetings last far longer than they need to. A lot of time is spent discussing off-topic matters, and participants checking their phones/laptops.
Instead, what you should do is discourage the usage of technology within the meeting space and keep the meeting short. This will incentivise the participants to focus on the task at hand, rather than their Facebook feed.
You also get a lot more time to allocate to more productive matters if you keep meetings as short as possible.
8. Explain Why It’s Needed
Nobody wants to walk out of a meeting and think “So why was that a thing?” You want to explain, in a way that’s clear to everyone present, why they’re there.
This helps your employees feel valued and drives them to be more involved. It also helps prevent the feelings of repetitiveness that often plague lower-level employees.
For something which is so easy to do, explaining the purpose of a meeting can greatly increase productivity and work happiness.
While all of these tips may be tough to take in at first, remember: practice makes perfect. Facilitating meetings is a learned skill, and you’ll slowly get better at it over time.
The more your company grows, the more these practices shine. This is because worker happiness becomes much more crucial to your business’ success. Quality meetings being one of the easiest and most influential changes you can bring to your employees.
If you disagree or have any other tips you’d like to add, feel free to chime in within the comments!
Jamie Shankland is currently the founder at Just Venue and Online Booking Platform. Jamie has had numerous awards including Scottish Edge Winner 2018 and Young Great British Entrepreneur. Jamie has companies in the Tech Sector, Oil and Gas and loves start-ups. Jamie has a keen interest in, Social Marketing, Growth Marketing and Content Marketing.