According to recent data, the average employee spends over 31 hours a month in unproductive meetings. These wasted meetings cost of over $37 billion a year in the U.S. alone. Leading a meeting is a great way to demonstrate your management skills, but it’s crucial to plan in advance to avoid wasting people’s valuable time.
Here are some quick pointers on how you can keep your meetings on track.
1. Be clear on the objective
As a first step, determine why you need the meeting. For example, is to make a decision? Perhaps you need to share a new idea? Or maybe it’s to brainstorm? When the objective is set, make sure you identify the right people to have in the room and the best format for the discussion.
2. Plan arrangements and logistics in advance
Take the appropriate steps to inform participants on the objective and allow sufficient time to schedule it correctly. If you need to gather availability make sure you factor in time to do so.
Pick the best forum for your meeting, for example should it be a conference call, or a video conference, an in-person meeting? If you are gathering people to meet in person make sure you secure the most appropriate meeting space for the number of attendees. Don’t forget to plan for materials or technical equipment that will be needed as well as refreshments.
3. Circulate a clear agenda
It always surprising the number of meetings I’m invited to attend that have no agenda. Make sure you convey the objective of the meeting at the outset and circulate an agenda in advance if you want to get the most out of your time together.
Don’t forget to include clear directions to the meeting location and all of the necessary call in or video conferencing details if attendees will be participating remotely. It’s also smart to share a meeting reminder the day prior or set your calendar invite to automatically remind those attending.
4. Prepare materials in advance
Prepare and share any crucial supporting materials in advance of the meeting and explain how they relate to the agenda. Bring copies to the meeting with you and always check technical equipment in advance. There’s nothing worse than experiencing a technical hitch due to lack of planning or experiencing printer issues when you need to gather key documents seconds before the meeting is due to start.
5. Be on time, remain focused and be accountable
Start and end your meetings on time and be sure to make introductions where necessary and acknowledge everyone who is participating. Stay focused, put your phone or anything that could distract you to one side. Also, encourage your attendees to stay on topic but don’t forget to share
action items, further discussion items and next steps in a recap.
Building the habit of running effective, productive meetings will not only save time, it will accelerate your projects and further enhance your reputation as a leader.
Post by Octavia Goredema @OctaviaGoredema
Photography Credit: #WOCinTech Chat