Making Your Next Meeting Count

 In Management, Meeting

Making Meetings Count

It’s not easy to present your message effectively to a large audience. To effectively communicate your message, it takes practice, practice and more practice.

Businesses around the world were forced to relocate all their in-person meetings and events online at the beginning of the pandemic. Everyone shifted their strategies to a virtual model almost immediately, regardless of whether you collaborated one-on-one with your colleagues or produced large-scale events. Many organisations made this transition so quickly that they didn’t understand, acknowledge, or discuss the intricacies of virtual meeting etiquette. Yes, etiquette.

Presenting is a reality. This is especially true as you move up in your job. This article is for those who are looking to grow.

How To Plan A Meeting

An agenda is essential before you start any meeting. Invite team members to share their problems or suggestions with you. Be sure to include topics that encourage group participation. Facilitating a meeting does not mean that you will be presenting information to the group.

Facilitate Group Involvement

You should allow enough time for group participation and not try to solve too many problems at once. Too much time can lead to endless cycles of “what about ….”?” Make sure that your agenda is within the time limit.

Make sure you provide proper logistics

Be careful about where and when you hold your meeting. A meeting that has 15 people in it will result in a disaster if you have six chairs and a conference room that holds only 6. Meetings will fail if people feel uncomfortable, are unable to see or hear each other, or are hungry.

You can use logistics to increase participation and reduce barriers. All of this must be planned in advance. Your meeting will be less productive if you send someone out to get sandwiches mid-meeting.

Set a clear goal

Are you meeting necessary to generate new ideas or gather information? Perhaps it’s all of these?

It’s almost impossible to achieve your goals if you don’t know what you want. A clear goal and a specific agenda are the key to a successful meeting.

meeting managementEncourage Participation

It is important to get input from everyone. Not only those who are enthusiastic and have a lot of to offer, but also those who are shyer and less likely to speak out.

It is okay to begin the meeting by stating that everyone must be 100% focused on the current situation in the room. If someone has urgent work they are tempted to multitask, let them know and they can go finish that work and then catch up with the meeting later. You’ll get better work and more participants. Win-win.

Make the most of your time

Everyone knows that time is a valuable resource and that it should not be wasted. Given the time that we all spend in meetings each day, it is important to streamline your meeting and make it as efficient as possible for you and your team. Time wasted in meetings is wasted time for everyone. If a key person arrives 15 minutes late to a meeting of eight people, it will cost the organisation two hours in lost activity.

Organisation

Being organised will help you keep track of what you have to do and when. A good organiser can help you keep the class on schedule, locate the right documents quickly, and present well.

Listen Actively

Managers need to learn how to listen, especially for 1-on-1 meetings. Pay attention to the feedback and what is being said. Remember that you are not listening just to be polite but to help your direct reports in the best way. Managers are more likely to develop a closer relationship with their staff if they show respect for the views and context of others.

Get feedback

It is amazing how many people complain that a meeting was a waste of time, but only after the meeting. You can improve the meeting by asking them for their feedback. It is often too late to get feedback from participants if you only evaluate a meeting at the end. You should check the feedback in the meeting throughout.

Last Thoughts

It is difficult to lead a group of people. The organiser, or any participant, should take responsibility for guiding the meeting back towards the topics and bringing the focus back.

Ask people to enable video if you are meeting online. This will make it easier for them to be more engaged. There are always exceptions, so be flexible and understanding if certain participants need to opt out of video.

Both at work and in life, time is a valuable resource. For maximum efficiency and effectiveness, manage meetings. It is a good place to start: practice, learn and apply the facilitation skills mentioned above.

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