Make Every Meeting Count

Employee meetings can be a huge drain on your time and energy, and they can contribute negatively to employee morale. Poorly planned meetings  leave everyone feeling frustrated, stressed, and more behind in their work than they were prior to the meeting. A meeting leader who fails to prepare in advance may be focused more on what to cover in the meeting than on listening to what others are saying, further reinforcing the employees’ perception that meeting is a waste a time.

Whether you are meeting with one person, several employees, or your entire staff, the key to making every meeting count is planning ahead. Here are some basic principles to help you.

Have a clear purpose

Identifying what you want to accomplish in the meeting will inform planning your agenda and prevent you from wasting time. Having a standing meeting on the calendar once a week is not a good enough reason; each meeting should have a defined purpose.

Your purpose allows you to determine who should attend. Not everyone has to attend every meeting, but on the other hand, you want to be sure no one who is relevant to the topic at hand is overlooked.

Create an agenda

Your purpose also will help you create your agenda. The agenda should include a welcome/introduction statement, topics, and next steps. Schedule a specific length of time for each topic, plus allow time for discussion and questions. Once you have an agenda, share it with the attendee(s) in advance or at the start of the meeting.

Run the meeting efficiently

Always start a meeting on time, but make a practice of arriving at the meeting space a few minutes early to engage in casual conversation with other early arrivals.

During the meeting, follow the agenda closely. If the conversation veers off the topic, make an assertive suggestion to “get back to the agenda,” even if you must interrupt a speaker. Offer to address the speaker’s digression at another time. 

Taking notes during the meeting will allow you to accurately summarize the next steps  at the end of the meeting. Review the action items for each person in attendance, including yourself.

Running an efficient meeting takes extra time and effort, but the rewards are shorter meetings, improved productivity, and more engaged employees.

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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