The one thing that will determine whether or not our meetings will be effective is this: Preparation.
You see, meetings happen all the time everywhere. Whether you’re an organization, a company, a church, or any other kind of institution.
This is because we acknowledge that meetings are important. Meetings are where we align ourselves to our objectives, discuss concerns, and brainstorm ideas.
And yet too often, we walk out of many of these meetings thinking that it was a complete waste of time. We grumble that the time we spent at the meeting could have been better spent doing actual work.
So here are 3 steps to make your meetings more effective.
Step 1: Identify the purpose of the meeting
There are many kinds of meetings.
There are vision-casting meetings, general assemblies, brainstorming sessions, team building meetups, crisis management meetings, quarterly assessment meetings, performance assessment meetings, and the list goes on.
Identifying what type of meeting yours will be, allows you to have a general understanding of what will be discussed, what questions will be asked, and what kind of participation is required.
Knowing what these are sets the baseline for the next steps below. Whether you’re the facilitator of the meeting or not, it’s important that you know these 3 things:
- What type of meeting it is
- What the objective of the meeting is, and
- How you are expected to participate.
Step 2: Get your team involved
Many communicators make the mistake of engaging their team only during the meeting. But we should be engaging them even while we’re preparing for the meeting.
An effective way to do this is to create a rough agenda, send it to each member of your team, and then ask them if there is anything they would like to add or revise.
If they suggest something that you missed, thank them and add it to the agenda. And if they suggest one that isn’t a priority right now, thank them for the suggestion and let them know it will be addressed during a different meeting later on.
Then send them the final agenda so they can prepare for it as well.
Doing this helps your team understand what the meeting will be all about. It also makes them feel that their input matters.
Step 3: Set time constraints
Communicate to your team what time the meeting will start and what time it will end. Also include in the agenda how much time will be allotted for each item.
Then stick to it!
Start on time. End on time. And keep the discussion of each agendum within the limit that you set.
Doing this will communicate to the team that you respect their time and that you value discipline. This actually sets the culture for your team.
If you don’t do this, your team members will keep coming in late. They will discuss items on the agenda beyond the time limit to the point where it’s no longer productive. And you’ll be keeping yourself from doing actual work.
This is an important one. And yet it is often taken for granted.
Here’s the gist…
Meetings are an important part of any organization or company. And yet a lot of the time, meetings last too long and achieve too little. This is largely because of a lack of preparation.
So here are 3 steps to prepare that will make your meetings more effective:
- Identify the purpose of the meeting
- Get your team involved
- Set time constraints
I know it seems like a lot of effort for an hour-long meeting. But from experience, if you don’t do this, your hour-long meetings will last longer than an hour and will achieve very little.
Try to do this a day or two before your meetings and you will see that they become more productive. You will run meetings better. And you will communicate better.
If you know anyone who needs to read this, share it with them!