If you’re like most people, your business meetings are a mess. You sit around a table with others, get zero work done and waste your time in meetings of little value. But what if you could change that? What if every meeting held could have productive outcomes? We can all imagine what this would look like – efficient, effective meetings where everyone at the table feels like their time was well spent and influential work was accomplished.
Here’s a list of the 15 things you should never forget when running an effective meeting:
- Provide refreshments to help encourage conversation and engagement.
- Be prepared and come with a plan ready to go so you do not waste time deciding what topics should be discussed or how the agenda should flow.
- Keep your meeting short and on task.
- Thank those who attend for their time and encourage them to arrive prepared with work related to the meeting topic so they can contribute meaningfully to the conversation.
- Do not overschedule meetings, so you do not waste valuable time.
- Avoid long and drawn-out reports from each attendee so that the meeting can stay on track and remain productive.
- Always allow those in attendance to ask questions or provide any input they may have.
- Be respectful of everyone’s time, be punctual and start at the agreed-upon time.
- Suggest another meeting if you think it is needed before any conclusions are drawn, but focus on setting a specific follow-up date and time, so attendees know what to expect moving forward.
- Continue the conversation online or via email after the meeting for follow-up and give those who could not attend the chance to provide input and feedback.
- Ensure all action items, decisions and next steps are recorded on a shared agenda or in an online group space, so everyone knows what to do next.
- Do not end abruptly without providing ample opportunity for attendees to ask questions or provide any additional input they may have.
- Be conscious of the time you take and always be respectful of attendees’ time.
- End on a positive note to leave attendees with good information or an enjoyable experience.
- You should send out follow-up minutes within 24 hours after the meeting ends with key decisions, action items, next steps, and other pertinent information discussed.
With these 15 tips for running effective business meetings, you can ensure that your next meeting is productive and successful. Within a few sessions, these tips should become second nature, and you’ll be able to run effective meetings with confidence.