Ever gone to a meeting that just felt like a hangout of disgruntled people who don’t want to be there? Half of the employees were tapping away on their tablets or smartphones checking emails. A few people were staring at the wall while off in their own daydreams. Then you always have the one person who dominated the meeting by sharing all his ideas and plans while not allowing anyone else to get a word in edgewise.
Getting rid of boring meetings
We have all been subject to the boring meeting. There was no set agenda rules in place, so nobody knew what the meeting was about until they arrived in the room. Everyone was invited even though most of the discussion points only targeted two to three people. The discussion focus was scattered, so people lost interest as they shifted to other distractions until the meeting came to an end. And it dragged on way longer than it should have, so most of the people didn’t retain any of the important information they needed when leaving the room.
4 Steps to having more productive and effective meetings
- Have meeting ground rules: There has to be rules set in place and enforced to ensure the meeting stays on track and everyone has their opportunity to voice their opinions. Only invite people who absolutely must be there, create an agenda with focused discussion points, and have a set time limit on how long the meeting will last.
- Limit device usage: Really, nobody has to be plugged in to their laptop, tablet or smartphone during the 20-minute meeting. Ban the devices to keep people focused, or at least have everyone turn off the volume to their phones.
- Manage speakers: When one person starts to take over the conversation, limit their time on the soapbox and encourage others to speak up with their own ideas. Let everyone have their say and try to keep the conversation on the main topic. If other important topics do pop up that should be addressed, schedule a different meeting to discuss them.
- Send out follow-up emails: The great thing about meetings is that people will have their own opinions and interpretations about the discussion. Yet you want to make sure that everyone is on the same wavelength about what the objectives of the meeting were and what tasks were delegated. A follow-up email sent to all attendees can talk about the meeting highlights, responsibilities and set tasks that were accomplished. It also opens the communication doors to allow people to send additional questions for more clarification.
Focus on the meetings you need
It’s easy to let your business be overrun with endless meetings that don’t accomplish much in the long run. Yet by focusing on an agenda, sticking to the discussion points, and having every attendee involved in the conversation, you can make the meetings more productive and valuable. Then you will know that everyone is on track to meeting all business objectives.