For all the employees out there, I’m sure we can agree that meetings are not the most fun activity there is. A lot of the time, meetings end up mundane and essentially a waste of one’s time; not saying that all meetings are a waste of time, but many employers tend to depend on meetings too much with very little results.
Sometimes, employers need to take a step back and ask the question, “is it worth it?” Meetings have become the culture in corporate spaces now, but many tend to forget that sometimes, some things don’t require meetings. Now, I’m not saying we should get rid of meetings altogether, as I know that meetings are needed and can be quite useful when applicable, but employers definitely need to review their meeting usage, especially during the era of COVID-19 and working-from-home.
That said, if you are to have a meeting, then it better be good with a useful outcome in the end, so here are some tips to follow for an actual effective meeting.
Understanding your goal
Before deciding whether you need a meeting or not, it is important to establish your objectives. If you are planning on having a meeting or feel that you need it, ask yourself the question, “why?” Why are you bothering to have a meeting in the first place? Is it because you want to generate an idea, communicate something, plan a strategy, or make a decision perhaps?
Understanding your goal from the very beginning will ensure you have a productive meeting because you are coming in with a purpose you are trying to accomplish. When you find yourself asking this question, you may even realize that perhaps a meeting isn’t even necessary or there are other methods that may be more effective for your purpose.
Cater to your employees
Each of your employees are different, if they are in your team, you probably have a good enough idea of how they work, so utilize that to your meeting’s advantage. Create a meeting that your employees can follow easily and generate their contributions. If perhaps some of your employees are more active via virtual communication, perhaps you can send an email to them instead.
You can use this personalization technique to try and engage your employees during the meeting as well. Some might elaborate more than others, take advantage of that information by asking the right questions.
Optimize your time
Nobody likes a timewaster, make your meetings as efficient as possible. It helps to create an agenda beforehand so you know exactly what you should talk about or the important points to bring up. Also, ensure that nobody needs to speak more than they need to. It is good to give everybody a turn to speak, as well as keeping to the schedule; surely, nobody wants to be stuck in a three- or four-hour meeting.
It is always smart to remember the point you would like to achieve and hold up on any further discussions until outside the meeting or within another meeting time.
You could also utilize some digital tools in this aspect, such as the use of online calendars. Having meetings scheduled beforehand with an exact time and invitation will keep everybody involved on track.
Set up some rules
Depending on the number of participants, you might want to set up some rules. If say there are only five people attending the meeting, then I’m sure it would be easy enough to handle, but if you have 20 people in a meeting, then things might get a little bit complicated. At this stage, you may want to have a system in place, like setting up a speaking method such as raising hands, an object of speech (you are only allowed to speak if you are holding the object), or dividing your team members into two groups.
This, again, comes down to personalization. Based on the way your company works, think about the best option to set in place some ground rules.
These are just a few tips to watch out for when looking to have company/business meetings, and of course, you could always apply some of your own tips that work for your meetings as well. Just remember though, always have a goal, if you have a meeting mostly because you are worried that people aren’t working from home, for example, then you would be wasting a lot of time. Figure out the best ways to communicate with your employees that will push them to be as productive as possible, be it through meetings or any other forms of communication, just make it count.