Meetings are a necessary evil. However, they are time consuming, resource intensive and can often prove to be inefficient if attendees are not prepared. Here are some top tips to help you to make the most of your meetings.
Create an Agenda
Agree an agenda for each meeting and circulate the agenda prior to the meeting. This sets the tone for your meeting and avoids situations where people get side tracked.
Timing is important. If people don’t show up on time, start without them. They will learn by experience and they will avoid being late for the next meeting. Equally, stick to your timeline – if you say a meeting will be over by 4pm then make sure it is over on time as your colleagues will have other things which the need to attend to during their working day.
Set a good example by being prepared for meetings. As others observe that you are prepared, they will tend to follow your example as it comes across as professional. Being prepared for meetings will also help you to win the respect of your colleagues as they may view people who turn up to meetings unprepared as “time wasters”.
No Blackberries or Mobile Phones
At the start of each meeting ask colleagues to switch their phones to silent and avoid checking emails during the meeting. If you make a point of saying this, they will most likely avoid being distracted by their phones and will contribute more to the meeting as a result.
If you are chairing a meeting, aim to facilitate conversation between colleagues. Do not allow a small minority to dominate the meeting. Very often, knowledgeable people fail to contribute to a meeting as they are overwhelmed by more talkative colleagues.