Many people find meetings to be nothing more than gatherings where endless cups of coffee and snacks are consumed, but the real purpose is not achieved. If you, too, have been privy to such directionless meetings, here are some tips to ensure that the next time, your appointment is bang on target and you get done what you have planned to:
Since there could be various reasons for organizing a meeting such as decision-making, planning/visioning, problem-solving, team building, information sharing, evaluating or tracking a process or program, etc., it becomes essential to define the purpose and objective of the meeting at the onset to give it a direction.
As the famous adage goes: If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail. A meeting can go off course without a clear plan. Apart from providing the focusing framework for an appointment, a strategy also sets out a logical time-frame and order and offers an outline that helps write the summary at the end of the meeting. It is also mission-critical to assign participants roles like a facilitator, leader, recorder, participant, etc.
When searching for a place to hold your meeting, you need to give due consideration to several factors like the size of the room, level of comfort, accessibility, availability of the necessary equipment, adequate parking, etc.
From a list of needs, a meeting needs to have a priority level assigned to the most urgent/critical ones to help the decision-makers reach a solution or the desired objective. There shall be set rules that reiterate common sense as not receiving/ making calls during the meeting, listening to ideas without being judgmental, not interrupting the speaker, etc.
For meetings via webinars, telephone/ video-conferences, special considerations should be made before and during the session to facilitate a seamless show. For instance, before the meeting, special arrangements should be made to deliver meeting materials and ensure that all participants know how to access the forum.
At the end of a meeting, collecting feedback from participants on how well they thought the meeting went can be used to make future meetings more productive. The facilitator can use an evaluation form to be filled by the participants.
Within two weeks of the meeting, they should draft a meeting summary document, if possible. That should contain, at the least, the action items and next steps, including responsible parties and due dates. A more formal summary report can be drafter soon after, including main points of discussion, background information, and answers to questions asked by the participants.
Meetings are a way of life for many organizations. Therefore, it becomes essential to make them as productive as possible to ensure that your organizational productivity is boosted.