How to Run the Most Effective Meeting Possible

Posted by Guthrie-Jensen Consultants

American writer Dave Barry once said, “If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved and never will achieve its full potential, that word would be ‘meetings’.” He might have said that jokingly, but we all know that there’s loads of truth in it. Not everyone knows how to conduct a meeting right.

A 2014 study by Bain & Company states that senior executives are wasting more than two days every week in meetings. Also, 15% of a company’s time is spent on meetings.

Aside from wasting precious time, meetings also exhaust needless financial costs. In the US alone, over $25 million is wasted per day on unnecessary meetings. That equates to unproductive spending of $37 billion annually.

Apart from the financial burden of bad meetings, they sap all your employees’ creativity and energy without an output.

Stop wasting your finite time, energy, and resources. Inefficient and dry meetings can be prevented by changing how you conduct meetings.

An effective meeting has a clear purpose. It starts and ends on time with all participants prepared. Most importantly, it produces favorable results. Practice the following to ensure effective meetings.


1. Set an Agenda

The agenda serves as a compass to a meeting. It must be clearly stated, and everyone must be aware of it. Every team member must know the reason for the meeting.

To ensure that the agenda is followed, it must be explicitly stated to all team members. You can summarize it on a handout or in your online calendar invite before the meeting. If leaders set and stick to an agenda, everyone will follow.


2. Make Sure You Need a Meeting

Not every task or update within an organization calls for a meeting. Only conduct one if it is the most effective means to convey your agenda. If not, you can just send emails or use business tools.


3. Ensure Appropriate Participation in the Meeting

Every member should have an active participation, but each should also be aware of the role he or she is playing.
To ensure that everyone is on the same page, a pre-work is needed which is discussed in number four.


4. Provide Necessary Handouts Prior to the Meeting

Even before the meeting starts, role players should have advanced tasks beforehand. This way, every minute in the meeting will be used to meet the agenda instead of brainstorming.


5. Have a Meeting Facilitator

The role of a facilitator is crucial for an effective meeting. The facilitator should ensure that the agenda is being followed and everyone is doing their roles.

The voice and demeanor of the facilitator set the tone for the meeting. If the facilitator is not clear with his or her role, the whole team is screwed.

No one should out-voice the facilitator. Everyone has the freedom to express their thoughts, but the facilitator should be quick in steering the conversation back to the agenda every time it gets side-tracked.


6. Start on Time and End on Time

The facilitator should start on time. Members get their cues from the attitude of the team leader. Starting late sets off the meeting on a negative momentum and it can be detrimental to the rest of the meeting.
The facilitator also needs to ensure that the meeting ends on time. Time is money.


7. Have an Action Plan

What happens after the meeting is more important than the meeting itself. Have an action plan to follow through with your agenda.

Your follow-up plan should contain action items, accountable person or team, a due date, and criteria for completion. This will serve as a guideline for team members to follow right after the meeting.


8. Involve Each Participant in Actions

Every team member should come out of the meeting with a specific task on hand. No one should end up just taking up space in the conference office.

The facilitator is accountable for the meeting, but he or she must delegate individual accountability to each assigned task. The action plan should materialize. Unmet action items mean someone did not do his or her part.


9. Publish your Minutes of the Meeting

It is important to publish the minutes within 24 hours after the meeting. A delay in the posting of minutes will also mean a delay in the team members starting with their tasks. The facilitator can do this task or assign someone to do it.


Wrap Up

An excellent meeting pushes a company forward. Meanwhile, poor meetings drag the company down. Follow the tips above to leverage your meeting prowess.

If you are a team leader, you can’t get away with meetings, but you must ensure that your meetings are productive. Your communication skill is imperative for you to run a first-rate meeting. There’s ordinary communication skill, then there are leadership communication skills, which you can train for.

Engaging leadership communication is for team leaders, facilitators, and executives who are faced with the challenge influencing people. It will train you to be a top-notch leader and communicator.

Get a Leadership Communication training now!

One Comment
  • Rick Weaver says:

    Walking out of a meeting, as unproductive as it maybe, is rude and disrespectful. Instead it is better to bring up points that would turn the meeting into a more productive event. Probably the biggest killer of productivity in a meeting is straying from the agenda – or not having one in the first place. Always know what you want to get out of a meeting and be prepared to gently move the meeting in that direction.

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