Meetings can feel like a necessary evil in the business world. Our top tips will help by providing you with the necessary meeting skills to get the best out of your meetings.
WHAT IS THE MEETING FOR?
If you are calling the meeting yourself, you need to be clear in your own mind what you want to achieve from it. Is it about gathering opinions or just presenting a situation? Do you need a decision to be made by the end of the meeting, or will the discussion during the meeting form an input into a decision making process? Once you are clear, you need to make sure it is clear to all those invited.
ARE THE RIGHT PEOPLE INVITED?
Having worked out the purpose, you need to decide who needs to be at the meeting. If you are looking for input and discussion, who has the relevant experience or role to have something useful to say? If you are announcing a decision, make sure all those affected by the decision are present.
CREATE AN AGENDA
You need to make sure you have an agenda planned for the meeting, in a logical order, with time allocated to each agenda item. Ideally, this should be sent to meeting attendees before the meeting so that they know what to expect and whether they need to prepare for the meeting.
STICK TO TIME
Meetings that run over time or start late are frustrating for everyone. We all value our time, and you need to show that you value it as well. You may need to adapt the amount of time you spend on each item on your agenda, but you should try to never overrun the end time of the meeting.
DON’T ALLOW MONOPOLISING
You need to make sure you hear from everyone who has a point of view and wants to talk. Some meetings can get monopolised by one individual. If you are running the meeting, it is up to you to deal with that person and ensure you hear from others. It can be worth establishing some ground rules at the start of the meeting to set the tone.
ASK FOR PHONES TO BE PUT AWAY
This can be an uphill task, but if you want people to concentrate on what is being said, then you should ask for phones to be put away out of sight. You can always claim the meeting is likely to finish earlier as a result!
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
If there are actions that need to be done as a result of the meeting, you need to be clear who is doing what and by when. This will make sure there is a common understanding of all actions. After the meeting, it can be useful to email out the action list so that all attendees have it.
It is entirely possible to have a valuable productive meeting, but you may need to put in some preparation to ensure they are run that way.