Getting The Most from Your Meetings
Posted on April 11, 2018
Wherever you work and however they’re run, meetings take up a lot of time. Whether they’re an effective use of that time depends on who’s running them and whether they’re an adept and experienced chair who’s skilled at getting the people in the room to collaborate, rather than score points or talk without an aim in mind.
Today we’re talking about how to get results from your meetings, so they’re an efficient and productive use of everyone’s time. Getting good at running meetings is an excellent reputation to have to ensure you’re building your career, and when the time comes for bonuses, raises or promotions it will stand you in good stead.
The Right Setting
If you run a regular meeting you might people are beginning to disengage. This is only natural: routine breeds familiarity, which breeds boredom. However, if people check out of a meeting mentally they either cease to contribute entirely or they start to resent it and start fighting it from the inside. This means irrelevant points, argumentative attitudes and meetings dragging on longer and longer.
To reignite people’s interest, it’s worth changing the setting. Even if it’s only quarterly, or once a year, taking your meeting outside the office makes it a novelty, makes the participants sit up, pay attention and really engage. If you’re based in London, meeting room hire is plentiful, as it is in most other major UK cities like Manchester, giving you plenty of options for finding a new venue to fire up your attendees.
The Agenda Agenda
Setting a firm agenda is important to maintaining flow in a meeting: it allows people to prepare, so they have relevant information to bring to the meeting. It also means you address the important points. There is a drawback however: if you’re too draconian in setting an agenda for your meeting, people feel like they don’t have a voice, and their points of view aren’t valued. This could lead them to introduce ideas they feel are important at irrelevant junctures or extend the meeting unmanageably with a bloated Any Other Business section.
To ensure everyone feels their voice is heard, put the call out a couple of days in advance for agenda points. This gives people the chance to contribute, and you can make sure you don’t miss any vital points. If people want to talk about something that doesn’t ft the scope of the meeting this gives you the chance to control their expectations: you can explain that you can’t add that to the agenda this time and suggest a more appropriate venue.