Don’t be a time sucker – use these 6 tips to run efficient and effective meetings
Meetings – oh that dreaded word! They’re time suckers, can be long, drawn out and even boring. More often than not, very little gets accomplished other than updates, and then additional meetings are scheduled to assign tasks and follow up. Frankly, they can turn into a vicious cycle of inefficiencies in your workday calendar. Take heart, that’s just one end of the meeting spectrum. At the other end, they’re short, sweet, and to the point, and that’s the way we like ‘em at CornerStone Dynamics. Here are 6 tips to successfully running efficient and effective meetings.
Have a clear objective and communicate it to attendees – What type of meeting is this? Is this a brainstorming get-together, a strategy session or a decision making meeting? Be upfront with attendees about the purpose, so they understand their role and expectations and are better equipped to participate and provide valuable input. Be sure to deliver the objective in the meeting request.
Have an agenda – Not having one is a sure fire way to run a distracted and circuitous meeting, you’d be surprised at how many meetings are run without them. An agenda sets the structure for your meeting and helps you to reach your objective. Spend time on the agenda. What are the important items that must be discussed as a group and what can be dealt with via email or a phone call? Keep it short and to the point, and set time limits for each agenda item to keep you on track. Adriana Girdler, CEO CornerStone Dynamics has written a great article for BizTV Canada with tips and tricks to writing an agenda.
Meeting time – Meetings don’t have to and shouldn’t waste your time. By setting time limits on agenda items, you have control over how long your meeting will run. If your meeting is scheduled for an hour, cut it back to 45 minutes instead. It’s human nature that if you schedule an hour long meeting, in all probability you’ll use it, filling it with off-agenda small talk.
Ban mobile devices – Wonder why everyone seems distracted around the meeting table? Blame the smartphone! Make it policy to leave all phones back at the desk or turn off all smartphones during the time you’re together.
Appropriate attendee list –Analyze your attendee list to determine if it’s critical that all invitees attend. Who are the must attend or nice to attend people on your list? If they’ve been invited simply to receive an update – save them some time and send them an email. Limit your attendees only to the key people that need to be there. If you reduce a half hour meeting list by two people, you’re giving back an hour’s worth of productivity to the company!
Action items & responsibilities – It’s easy to leave a meeting, go back to your desk and become immersed in the work at hand. Meeting organizers need to either create or designate another person to develop an action item list during the course of the meeting and communicate it to attendees. It should outline the action to be taken, who is responsible for it and due dates. This ensures that everyone is on the same page moving forward and has clear objectives regarding their roles and responsibilities. For an Action Item Template, click here.
For additional tips on running great meetings Six Ways To Waste Less Time At Meetings. No need to dread them again, welcome to the world of efficient and effective meetings!
Do you have any unique tips and tricks for running effective and efficient meetings? Feel free to leave a comment below or shout out to us on Facebook or Twitter. Of course, you could always write your own blog post on the subject and share it with us… We’d love to read it!