They can also make you feel like your schedule is overflowing with meetings. Effective meetings are interesting, high-energy events where team members work together to make decisions or solve problems. About The Author: Nissar Ahamed is the Founder & CEO of CareerMetis.com, a publication dedicated to helping job seekers and freelancers with actionable advice and resources. These note-taking apps also make it easier to share the meeting agenda, discussion points, and the action items with all the attendees. If the meeting centers on a decision, don’t let your team members off the hook and settle for a “maybe.” Push for that decision or recommendation so people can start pursuing action items as soon as they walk out of the room. It can include things like brainstorming new product ideas, analyzing results for the past quarter, and action steps to take moving forward. positive about the use of their time and with a sense that progress has been made Be intentional about where you are and aren’t focusing energy. For this reason, you need to make your meetings more inclusive. And you’ve got 30 seconds before they start asking the question, ‘Am I going to pay attention to you or not?’ The instant you open your mouth, you are on the verge of having your audience check out.”. Running effective and productive meetings can feel very daunting. Although employees can communicate with one another in an organization in many different ways, business meetings — if they are conducted the right way — can be incredibly effective and efficient. Having clear, concise, and well-defined purpose, goals, and objectives ensure that discussions in the meeting center on essential factors that will lead to the overall growth and well-being of the organization. You might even have the entire group join remotely from their desks. And it’s okay if the whole team is not in full agreement with the decision. Turns out, though, you’re not the sole judge of whether the meeting was productive or not. Were the meeting’s purpose and agenda clear? Include a 5-minute agenda item at the end to capture any open questions or follow-up tasks and assign owners for them. Reinforce your desired culture; meetings are carriers of organizational culture. Effective meetings are imaginative, participative, innovative and engaging. Crossed wires and missed connections - good communication among teams is tablestakes for effective teamwork. It’ll make you think twice about your attendee list! They provide a unique chance for people at all levels of the business to hear directly from executives and other decision-makers – and, if you include time for Q&A, vice-versa. Using this knowledge — you can engineer your meetings so that in the first 30 seconds of the meeting, you can share the most interesting points of the meeting to arouse the interest of the attendees. Most meetings have vague goals, and many usually lack an agenda. When you schedule a meeting at a certain time — you have to begin the meeting with those who are present and let anyone that’s late stand till the end of the meeting. Here’s a handy “effective meetings” cheat-sheet you can download and use to help keep you focused on the stuff that matters. According to John Medina, a molecular biologist and author of Brain Rules: “You’ve got 10 minutes with an audience before you will absolutely bore them. You crafted an agenda designed to achieve the goal. First of all, summarize the meeting and the decisions made. It transitions them from talking mode to listening mode and gives others a chance to speak. A meeting involves talking WITH teammates, not AT them. The catch is that you’re honor-bound to follow up on them, or you’ll lose the group’s trust. You don’t have to put a specific brainstorming exercise on the agenda, but you do have to make the group feel comfortable expressing non-conforming opinions or offering up off-the-wall ideas. Effective Meeting Management. The fact that you’re still reading means you’re committed to running a great meeting. The same electronic gadgets we carry around these days that help make our lives easier and also have the ability to make us more productive at work — are also the biggest and most dangerous distractions that we have today. They can also collect any information that will be needed or prepare questions on things that don’t seem clear to them before the meeting. At the very least, a good meeting will center on a productive discussion that will be more effective in real time than asynchronously via emails or comment threads. As much as possible, avoid too much technicality in the discussions as too much technicality tends to deplete most people’s willpower and attention. Atlassian meetings typically capture all that stuff as a page in Confluence (the wiki-flavored intranet tool we make) and share the page with everyone on the invite list and other relevant people. An efficient meeting starts promptly, stays on track due to good time management, includes as few people as possible, and achieves the stated objective. And it most likely is. Effective meeting facilitation starts with a review of the goals, or anticipated outcomes … Our capacity for creative thinking is the highest right after sleep, so schedule that brainstorming session first thing in the morning. The Journal of Organizational Behavior found in a recent study that time-wasting is usually unacceptable in all other aspects of business life, but “in the case of meetings, wasted time seems to be an accepted norm.”. Sharing broadly reduces the chance you’ll discover conflicts late in the game, and might even lead to an opportunity to join forces with a team doing complementary work. Things like presentations and status updates often masquerade themselves as essential, but they aren’t that important – these activities can be handled asynchronously via emails, chat, company intranets, etc. What’s important is how you use the time you have – however long that is. People want to do productive things that they feel are truly important – but meetings that lack structures can feel like a colossal waste of time. These things are important; however, they are fundamental. Win-win. Meetings should never be held for the sole purpose of sharing information – that’s what email, chat, and company intranets (e.g., Confluence) are for. An effective meeting brings a thoughtfully selected group of people together for a specific purpose, provides a forum for open discussion, and delivers a tangible result: a decision, a plan, a list … Podcast, how addictive these tech gadgets and their applications, 7 Mistakes to Avoid When Onboarding Remote Employees, The Top 5 Types of Employee Monitoring In 2020, How to Optimize ChatBots for Customer Service Betterment, Top 5 Desktime Alternatives (Features, Pricing, Ratings), Top 7 TMetric Alternatives (Features, Pricing, Ratings), How to Host an Efficient Remote Meeting in 2020 (Tips, Tools), Remote Work & Anxiety: How to Reduce Mental Distress Around Confidentiality, Monitoring Employee Attendance (2020 Guide), 13-Step Guide to Running an Effective Meeting. Have Fewer, Better Meetings. Err on the side of sharing with more people than is strictly necessary. Some types of meetings are legit, while others aren’t. Draw out the introvert toward the end of a discussion by asking whether they see points the group hasn’t considered yet. Questions like “Why do we think that’s true?” or “Can you expand on that?” or “How could we measure that?” demonstrate humility and curiosity on your part, which sets the tone for the rest of the group. Continuous improvement for the win! An effective agenda increases the productivity of the overall meeting because it establishes expectations on what needs to occur before, during, and after a meeting. Same goes for knowing whether to hold a meeting in the first place, and what to do afterward to make sure it wasn’t a waste of time. For 99% of meetings, you can give yourself a break and skip worrying about…. You weren’t born to sit in meetings. This guide will walk you through some ground rules to help you organize and run productive meetings. It’s because efficiency doesn’t care that much if the right people attended the meeting for the right reasons; or if the meeting added any real and tangible value to the business. Meetings are vital for the work of any organization. There are very few things that are as annoying as someone scheduling a meeting and sending out an invite with no indication as to what will be discussed in the meeting — leaving the invitees clueless as to why they are at the meeting in the first place. Every business, whether it has 2 employees or 2,000, has meetings as a regular part of getting things done. Some meetings are both essential and necessary, while others are just a complete waste of time. Over the course of speaking to more than 500 chief executives for my weekly Corner Office column, I have learned the rules to running an effective meeting. Some people walk out of meetings with more questions than answer or even wonder why they attended the meeting in the first place. Please allow me to call bullshit on that. At the same time, businesses cannot devote endless resources. It puts everyone on a level playing field and encourages more balanced participation. You shouldn’t just call a meeting or blast out email invites to everybody that comes to your mind. A: Know if your virtual meeting was effective by asking for feedback in your meeting follow-up email. Culture, tech, teams, and tips, delivered twice a month, Meetings should never be held for the sole purpose of sharing information, Department and company all-hands meetings, we solve problems best later in the day when our minds are a bit tired, 6 meeting hacks (and 1 weird tip) that build trust, build trust by asking questions that prompt a deeper discussion, 47% of workers complain that meetings are where productivity goes to die, More on DACI in the Atlassian Team Playbook, Here’s a handy “effective meetings” cheat-sheet you can download, 5 employee engagement ideas that build authentic connections, How to boost your team’s success with shared mental models, 4 communication styles and how to navigate them in the workplace, How to run a remote retrospective and have fun doing it, Finding a meeting location outside the office, Preparing a snazzy slide deck (death to all “consume information” meetings!). Effective meetings go beyond an agenda. Even if everyone in the group has a desk in your office, it’s always a good idea to set up your meeting to be accessible and valuable for people joining remotely. You have to be mindful of drifting off-topic for too long or going too deep into technicalities. Before you schedule the meeting, ask yourself this: “what are we looking to achieve with this meeting?”. Not only that, but the result is then shared with others whose work may be affected. In our age of globally distributed companies, a bit of thought around timing is key to effective meeting management. Identify the purpose and goal of the meeting There’s the tendency of the scribe getting distracted by pop-ups and notifications on the device. The Importance of Effective Meetings. But it’s very easy to drift off-topic and bring up irrelevant topics. Get best practices and sound advice on how to create understanding and work together better. In reality, … Project planning, mapping out customer journeys, setting goals, solving a problem, choosing X vs. Y… all these are situations where holding a meeting is probably the most effective way to get it done. Rather than calling a meeting every time there is a problem or dispute in the company, find other ways to resolve those problems. Some note-taking apps also allow you to collaborate in real-time. The chances are that on any given day, your schedule is chock-full of them. Effective meetings are important to your business to ensure that employees are aligned with your expectations and working efficiently. Running effective meetings isn’t simply a matter of doing the obvious things like sharing the agenda and starting on time. Being … Keep an ongoing, open dialogue amongst the people you meet with most frequently, and emphasize progress over perfection. If you’ve done a good job gathering a group with diverse knowledge and perspectives, everyone will be “the odd one out” in one way or another. Q: What is the first step to conducting an effective virtual meeting? Once you’re sure that a meeting is necessary, the next step will be to create clear, concise, and well-defined purpose, goals, and objectives. It’s prep time: Create and share your meeting agenda 1. It’s important to distinguish between effective and efficient. I’d even argue that starting and ending on time isn’t absolutely critical for success. In addition to creating an agenda for your meetings is designating facilitators. Good meetings are essential for collective decision-making, planning and follow-up, … Here’s an effective step-by-step guide to help running an effective meetings … To run an effective meeting, you’ll need to plan ahead, … Sharing via email and Google Docs works fine, too. An Effective Meeting is one where it’s objectives where accomplished within the stated timeframe. The team at Trello does this if even one person is remote. If one person starts to dominate the meeting, ask them to take over the role of capturing notes on the whiteboard. Some of the ways you can encourage active listening include, You’re probably already familiar with this Mark Twain quote —“A dull pen is better than the sharpest mind.”. Before scheduling any meeting, the very first thing you need to consider is if the meeting is necessary. We have our regular monthly organization meetings, special task force meetings to work on, urgent actions, and committee meetings … To ensure that everyone gets a chance to speak at the meeting, invent some type of a “. Meetings in your organization are supposed to be a cooperative and not contentious. A: The first step to conducting an effective virtual meeting … It can be tempting to scribble down some points on any sheet of paper and call it your agenda to get it over with. (Depending on your company culture, that might not be strictly necessary, but it’s always polite.). The key is making sure … It helps get everyone on the same page on … Since there are only so many hours in the (work) day, here is an easy-to-follow process for running effective meetings so everyone walks in knowing what to discuss and walks out knowing next steps. Scheduling the meeting at optimal times of high energy. If you’re trying to solve a technology problem — then inviting the marketing team to the meeting is entirely unnecessary; you only need to invite the tech guys. Meetings are very important to the growth and well-being of any business. Unfortunately, the reverse seems to be the case. Active listening involves focusing all your attention on the speaker, pay attention to their words, gestures, tone of voice, and even facial expressions, rather than just waiting for your turn to speak. It’s imperative because when people find themselves in meetings where they can’t make any reasonable contribution due to lack of skill or expertise, or that the topics to discuss are irrelevant to them, they’ll see the meeting as a waste of their precious time. Consider using the DACI method to clarify each person’s role in the decision: driver, approver, contributor, or informed. Ideally, you need to assign the role of the note-taker to someone before the meeting (typically when you’re sending out meeting invites). It will keep the teammates accountable and make expectations clear. Here are some extra tips that can help you run productive meetings. You might not reach full agreement, but that’s okay. Use your best judgment. Sarah Goff-Dupont Click to tweet. Meetings are vitally important – if done well. If not, who should/shouldn’t be included in the future? Another way of keeping attendees engaged is by preparing them for active listening. Create and share your meeting agenda with them. Try this meeting cost calculator from Harvard Business Review next time you’re charged with running a meeting. He is also the host of The Career Insider Podcast and the co-host of The C.A.R.E. If you have to make a decision — you need to press the team harder to make a decision or recommendation so that action steps can be set and taken at the end of the meeting, rather than let them off the hook with a “maybe,” or a vague decision. You see, as much as it’s excellent to hold efficient meetings, efficiency is more of a superficial quality than anything else. Most of us don’t have formal training in meeting management skills, but anyone can learn to do it well. But if meetings consume so much of your time, you should be extracting huge benefits from them, shouldn’t you? Using all the tips I have outlined here — you can run effective meetings that will have everyone feeling inspired rather than frustrated. You also need to keep the number of attendees to the barest minimum. For a meeting to meet this outcome, or objective, you have to be clear about what it is. There are many alternatives to meetings that are more effective and efficient than having suboptimal meetings. Sharing the meeting agenda in advance helps you get straight down to business, as it will give the attendees the time to familiarize themselves with the discussion points. Someone is assigned to keep track of minutes and the agenda. Let the group know that if someone has work that is so pressing they’d be tempted to multi-task, they have permission to go do that work and catch up on what happened in the meeting later. 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