Too often I hear business people complain about how wasteful meetings are- time is money and unproductive meetings can be a vacuum for both. Due to the dynamics of personalities and politics in meetings, it’s important for the leader to keep things from derailing. You can make your meetings count with these 5 steps.
1. Establish the Goal
Deciding the purpose of your meeting will guide key elements like who the attendees of the meeting are and how much time should be invested. With a common mission for all parties, your goal should be reached at the conclusion of the meeting.
2. Outline the Agenda
Your agenda will be the guiding force to keeping your meeting on track. Distribute it to your attendees along with any other relevant materials before the meeting. Make sure that each item is necessary to reach your established goal and delegate someone responsible for each item.
3. Direct the Dialogue
Be prepared to determine whether off-track topics need to be “taken offline” (a.k.a. discussed later, amongst specific attendees) and direct the attention back to the task at hand. Remember the all-important purpose of the meeting: that goal you established in Step 1. Anything not progressing towards that goal can be disruptive to everyone’s time investment in the meeting.
4. Determine Next Steps
At the close of the meeting, make sure that each task has a deadline and has been delegated to a team member. These action items should all pave the road to achieving the common mission of the meeting.
5. Send a Summary
Soon after the meeting ends, send a recap of the meeting to everyone who attended and those who could not attend. This will solidify what was discussed, who is responsible for which follow-up tasks and how your goal will be reached.
These simple steps will help you prepare for and take control of your meetings so that they count. Ultimately, your team will end up feeling more productive and purposeful than ever.
How will you improve your next meeting?