How many times have you left a meeting thinking, “there’s an hour I’ll never get back”? Annoying, isn’t it?
The most productive meetings start before the meeting even begins. Here are some points to make every meeting minute count!
First, start by including the purpose of the meeting, the anticipated outcome or goal in your meeting invite along with a clear agenda.
An agenda keeps the meeting orderly and on time. It also identifies who will take the lead on different discussion points and how much time each speaker or topic will have. This helps to keep the meeting focused on the topic. Of course you want to have the right individuals at the table for the most effective outcome!
Send your agenda to everyone in advance. This will give everyone a heads up on what’s planned and help them prepare in advance. Be sure to include the meeting logistics — the start time and location.
It’s meeting time.
Start by reviewing the objective of the meeting and the expected outcome. This will be a good reminder for everyone and set the tone for the meeting. Depending on the purpose, you might also want to clarify what’s in or out of scope. For example, if the objective of the meeting is to discuss a change in process for your team, identifying which employees are best suited for each role may be a topic for a separate meeting. If you try to cover too much, you may not achieve your objective.
Is it time for creativity?
Bouncing around ideas is one of my favourite things to do. If you’re hosting a brainstorming meeting, assign someone to captures the details on a white board or flip chart where everyone can recall them and where they can be reviewed and recorded after the meeting. This is also a great way to narrow down ideas and come up with some consistent themes.
If your business meeting is designed to provide operational updates, assign a timer to make sure each individual has an opportunity to provide their update.
Your meeting has ended…
But it doesn’t end there. I like to leave time at the end of a meeting to capture next steps and ensure anyone with a takeaway knows what’s expected of them. Did you remember to assign someone to take notes? Sending everyone a summary of the discussion with the next steps is a great way to ensure you’re all on the same page.
Remember, a well-run meeting starts and ends on time. This shows respect for attendees and acknowledges that their time is valuable.
Try some of these ideas when you host your next meeting. Maybe you have some ideas of your own to make every meeting minute count. Feel free to share them here!