Eleven Tips for an Effective Meeting

We are all wasting so much time and money sitting in poorly planned and unnecessary meetings!  Consider these statistics:

  • According to Lucid Meetings, there are somewhere between 36-55 million meetings every day in the US.
  • Averaging the effectiveness of meetings from multiple studies, approximately 29% of respondents said meetings are somewhat ineffective or poor in terms of productivity.
  • These poorly run meetings are costing the US between $70B and $283B annually.

Take back your time.  Here are some meeting best practices:

  • Ask: Do you need a meeting in the first place? Sometimes the most effective use of time is to meet real-time to discuss the issues at hand. But think through first if the topic can be resolved one on one? Through email?
  • What is your objective? For example, “we’re here to discuss sales expectations for next year. Or, “we need to decide the winner of this month’s Employee of the Month award.” These are examples of clear, specific objectives.
  • What’s the absolute minimum? What has to be covered in order to accomplish your goal – covering no more, and no less.
  • Plan the order. Is there a best sequence for the items? This can help in the decision-making process.
  • Share a well-planned agenda. Don’t keep this information to yourself: share the agenda in advance so that people can prepare appropriately, or if a delegate needs to be sent, they have at least an idea of what the meeting is about.
  • Get the right people in the room. Think about who might be critical to the decision-making process? Who’s “nice to have?” Who might be affected by the decisions made?
  • Use homework to shorten the meeting. Distributing Pre-Work or Review Materials before the meeting can help shorten your meeting time and make the group time together more productive – but only if everyone does it!
  • Manage the monopolizers. Don’t allow one or two people to dominate the conversation. Be sure to solicit input and ideas from everyone.
  • Create a parking lot. Keep the conversation on task by using a “Parking Lot” to list the items that are worth noting or discussing, but may not be quite on target for the discussion at hand. You can always come back to these topics if appropriate.
  • Recap the conversation -- Twice. First, do a brief verbal recap at the end of the meeting with everyone in the room and then provide a brief overview of the meeting’s discussion and agreement shortly after the meeting.
  • Be sure to follow up. Once people have left your meeting, they get busy with all of their other to-dos they’re already juggling. Send a reminder email a few days before their deliverables are due to help keep your project on track.

 

Everyone loves to hate meetings – but like them or loathe them, meetings are a fixture in today’s business environment. Incorporating practices into your meetings routine will give you the best return on your efforts.

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