[This is a guest post by Helena Hauk of 5th Gear Consulting. Helen approached us to talk about orchestrating effective meetings and I couldn’t say no to the topic. — Kai]
No one likes meetings and if people can avoid them they will. Unfortunately meetings are a necessary and vital part of doing business, especially as your firm grows and one-on-one communication becomes more scattered. Meetings don’t have to suck the energy out of your organization (or devour your time). To keep meetings from turning into organizational vampires:
- Start with an agenda: Know exactly what you want to cover and communicate that to your team before heading into the conference room.
- Communicate ahead of time: Let people know ahead of time which staff members you expect to be there and what they should bring with them (e.g. reports, stats, or other important information).
- Be considerate: Tell your team before, during, and after how much you understand the value of their time and appreciate them sacrificing it in order to attend your meeting. It will show that you value and respect their time just as much as your own.
While you’re in the meeting its important that you stay on target and follow the agenda you outlined beforehand. Most meetings run off track if you let them so don’t. Stay in control at all times. If someone asks questions that are off-topic or that are not pertinent to the group then make an appointment to speak with them afterward. This way they still feel like they are getting the attention and responses they are looking for without detracting from the group or the task at hand.
As you close your meeting make sure that everyone clearly understands the next steps. Assign all tasks and deadlines before you break the meeting. This way your meeting actually leads to progress, rather than just providing interruptions to your day.
Remember, meetings should move your business forward, not consume your time. It’s up to you to slay the time sucking meeting run amok and keep your team on track. Do it with a well thought out plan, strong communication, and a strategic eye toward the future.
“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort. “ ~Paul J. Meyer