11 Tips For Productive Meetings
Are you tired of long meetings where no decisions are made? Most likely you are not alone. For many, a meeting feels like a waste of time because of poor organization or role assignment.
Below you will find a number of guidelines for organizing a meeting properly and bringing it to a successful conclusion.
1. Define your goals
An efficient meeting starts with proper preparation. Define your goal and timing. An important meeting with important decisions requires a comfortable room. Make sure there is enough room for files and enough chairs for your participants. A short, informal meeting, on the other hand, which mainly needs to be fast, needs less preparation. Standing meetings allow for quick decisions.
2. Prepare the agenda
Make sure the agenda is fixed before you send out an invitation. This way people can see if they would benefit from attending. However, never make the mistake of sending an invitation to people you are sure will not benefit from it.
3. Provide the necessary material
Provide a beamer or flipchart when giving a short presentation. Provide a laptop for the note taker.
4. Assign key roles
Every meeting has a facilitator. This person ensures that everyone gets a chance to speak and that decisions are made properly. Be sure to appoint a note taker as well. He or she ensures that everything that was said is put into a clear report that can be sent on to interested parties afterwards. Split the list of participants into three categories: present, excused and absent. In this way, you can track the history of attendance within a given group. Having someone to keep track of time is definitely not a luxury either.
5. Take breaks
Make sure you have enough breaks for your participants. If the discussion gets too intense, your participants may need a moment to reflect. Respect this need and don't make your meeting too intense.
6. Keep your goal in mind
A meeting quickly loses its power when there is constant deviation from the topic. Take action here and name it when it happens. Take the lead and indicate that you want to continue with the predetermined agenda.
7. Let the silent minority have its say
When a majority shares a certain opinion, this does not mean that the silent minority has no right to speak. On the one hand to respect democracy in your meeting, but on the other hand to listen to and consider potentially interesting ideas.
8. Respect the time
You indicate beforehand the exact place, time and duration of the meeting. So during the meeting you have to respect a certain time. This way your meeting is not likely to run out of time because of other appointments.
9. Respect decisions made
Do not start questioning a previous decision during a meeting. This way you will create frustration among your participants.
10. Make a list of what still needs to be done
To do's are very important at the end of the meeting. They ensure the progress of the process and the achievement of the goals of the meeting and the group. So draw these up and distribute them equally among the group members (present), but do so in consultation with them.
11. Cancel the meeting if necessary
Not every reason is sufficient to cancel or reschedule a meeting. For example, when a guest speaker or certain partner who has a key role in the meeting can't make it is a good reason to move or cancel the meeting. If this is not done, you run the risk of wasting your participants' time.
More information: Productive Meetings