How to Maximise Meeting Effectiveness
As many of us have made the shift to work from home, we have seen an increase in use of video meeting platforms such as Zoom or Skype to replace the connection, engagement and productivity usually associated with face to face meetings and impromptu office conversations. So much so, many are starting to feel they have reached the limit for ineffective or inessential video meetings clogging up their calendar.
In many cases, these meetings may not end with clear action or results, meaning a follow up series of meetings. In some instances, the meeting objective could have been solved with a simple email. Given our reliance currently on video meeting platforms, we want to provide you with some tips on how to execute an effective meeting, but also how to get the right results each time!
- Ask yourself, do you really need a meeting?
Before booking your meeting room (online or in office) and sending out the invites, take a few minutes to think about what you are trying to achieve from the meeting. What is the specific purpose of the meeting? What will you be trying to accomplish? Given that most meetings are held to source ideas, make a decision, solve a problem or to make a plan, at some stages of these processes a meeting may be overkill and a simple email may do the trick – not only saving yourself time, but wasted man hours for the business as well.
- Have the right people in the meeting
Many of you will have heard our team speak about the value of your time when it comes to performing different tasks and activities as a part of your role. However, it is also important to keep this in mind when planning meetings, and those that are invited to attend, as the cost to the business adds up! Ensure that the core attendees that are in the meeting are the key decision makers or influencers for the outcome you are looking to achieve. You may also want to bring in others with key knowledge or different perspectives but use your common sense on how many may be too many.
- Have a plan or an agenda for the meeting that clearly outlines the meeting objective
At the time you send out the calendar invitation for your meeting, provide an agenda for the meeting to all attendees. It does not need to be a formal document that spells everything out to the minute, in fact it could be a few notes in the calendar invitation that clearly state the most important objective of the meeting. The key focus here is to make sure everyone understands why they have been invited and what will be discussed to allow them to attend fully prepared for the discussion. If you cannot clearly articulate the purpose or agenda for the meeting, an email may be more suitable to solving your issue.
- Follow up post-meeting on any actions or follow up needed
If you were the meeting organiser or a project leader, take a few moments after the meeting to send around an overview email highlighting what was agreed, what actions need to be completed and what next steps are to all who attended the meeting. This should be sent on the same day of the meeting, or within 24 hours of the meeting. This will allow those with tasks or actions to understand what they need to complete and allow for everyone to be on the same page.
- Give yourself a break between meetings or block out meeting free zones
Running from meeting to meeting can become overwhelming and stressful. Participating in meetings back to back does not allow for a clear mind as you enter each discussion and impact your productivity within the meeting. If you know you have a day or a period of time where you will take the time to block out spaces within your schedule, allow 15-30 minutes between meetings where possible. During this time take a short walk, grab a coffee or a snack and allow your mind to decompress. This will make you feel fresher for the next meeting and improve your performance.
The above list of tips and tricks for ensuring your team facilitates effective meetings is just the tip of the iceberg, with many other business brands and thought leaders producing other information and materials on the subject. If you are looking for some further reading to continue to develop your skills (or that of your team), I suggest having a look over the articles of Brian Tracy, The Executive Connection (TEC), or the team from Slack to give you some further ideas and insight. Plus our Strategic Account Manager, Ms Ella Harvey, presented a great bitesized webinar on this exact topic! To access this webinar head to https://73f40687-acd2-4d3e-a331-6201389481d7.webinarninja.com/live-webinars/361669/register.
Whilst it may appear initially that there is a time investment required to prepare and establish your meeting processes, the benefit of executing on these correctly within the business will be invaluable. Ensuring there is a clear purpose or agenda to your meetings, along with actionable discussion that is implemented or acted upon post-meeting, your team and business will benefit in the long term.