Your invite for a last minute meeting just went out, quickly followed by dramatic sighs throughout the office. Meetings in the workplace can be painful, especially when they’re frequent and have a history of being perceived meaningless. Review these tips before planning your next meeting to help avoid this negative company-wide reaction, and to make your meetings much more efficient.
Keep It Short
Before even planning the meeting, ask yourself if it can be replaced by a simple email. You might realize that you have something to announce rather than discuss. When feedback isn’t needed, a meeting probably isn’t either. However, dreaded meetings can’t always be avoided, and when they can’t be, keep them short and to the point. Accomplish this by eliminating everything that doesn’t add value. Only invite employees that absolutely need to be there to avoid excessive chatter. And when all else fails, make all attendees stand for the duration of the meeting. No one wants to stand for over 20 minutes, which will force everyone to get to the point.
Come Prepared With a Plan
If a meeting is necessary, define the one central problem that needs to be discussed. Allow yourself to come up with no more than three talking points regarding this problem. This may take a lot of narrowing down and planning beforehand, but will get your employee’s back to their desks faster come meeting time. Most importantly, stick to your created plan! Spontaneous, unthoughtful, off-topic meetings aren’t useful for anyone.
Discuss Solutions, Not Problems
Once you have defined the problem and cut out unneeded information, type out your meeting plan and email it to the invited employees days in advance. Having a copy of the meeting agenda beforehand lets invited staff know where they will need to contribute to the conversation. Now these employees can individually plan prior to the meeting so that brainstorming isn’t being done during the scheduled conference time. This leaves only the solutions to talk about, which will drastically cut down the meeting time and make it much more effective.
End with Action
After coming up with a solution, hold employees accountable by assigning tasks with deadlines. If you don’t act on the solution, the meeting was pointless. Pointless meetings lead to countless other meetings, which is why people despise them to begin with.
Cutting time out of a busy work day to attend a meeting can affect productivity and focus, so it’s important that the meeting is as efficient as possible. Try these meeting techniques to prove to employees that the meetings you plan are important and worth their time.