There are many types of meetings. There are those that seem like they will never end, those in which your mind (and everyone else’s) wanders, and those which seem to bear no relevance to what you do. These are, of course, not shining examples of the perfect meeting; so why are they the ones that spring to mind?
Meetings take up a significant part of business life, but many employees see them as a waste of time. This makes no sense; running an effective meeting shouldn’t be that hard. Luckily, there are a number of things you can do to ensure the next meeting you plan keeps attendees as engaged as they are productive.
1. Give the meeting a clear purpose
Running a meeting for the sake of running a meeting is no help to anyone. Only hold meetings when they are necessary and have a specific purpose. Answer a few questions such as: What do I want to achieve? What are the messages I want to put across? And, is there a deadline involved? Then, if you can answer them without a meeting (e.g. by phone conferencing or email), do it that way instead.
2. Think about who needs to be there
If you have an announcement to make, invite the people who need to hear that message. If you need to solve a problem, invite those with the right skills and knowledge in that area. You don’t want any of your attendees feeling they are surplus to requirement. To make sure everyone who needs to be there is involved, you might find using a video conferencing system the best solution. This allows colleagues to collaborate from their own workspace and, with the right system in place, it can deliver amazingly true-to-life communication.
3. Choose the right environment
Your meeting room should be well-lit, fully kitted out with the right technology and comfortable – although, perhaps not too comfortable. Alternatively, if you are running a video conference, make sure that attendees know the ‘rules’ about video backgrounds (that is, avoiding any distracting objects or people in the background, instead staying in front of a plain backdrop).
4. Keep to a schedule
Plan your agenda in advance, listing items to be discussed and allocating a certain amount of time to each. Email this information to attendees and display it on a screen during the meeting. Of course, you are likely to want to display more than just the agenda during the meeting, so make sure the technology is up to the job. Wireless presentation systems allow you to connect laptops to a screen, which means switching between presenters is simple and content is displayed without disruption.
5. Be strict on technology
The last thing any meeting presenter wants during his or her meeting is to see attendees absent-mindedly swiping smartphones and tablets, so ban the use of any such distracting technology. Of course, technology that is being used collaboratively during a meeting (through a wireless presentation system, for example) should be welcomed.
6. Be strict on time, too
If you consistently start and end your meetings on time, people will want to attend. By showing you recognise their time is valuable you will gain the reputation of being a great presenter. Plus, try not to let a meeting run for more than an hour; once sixty minutes are done, your attendees generally are, too.
7. Post meeting action
Follow every meeting with a round-up of what was achieved and the main action points. List the responsibilities assumed, actions delegated and relevant timescales attached.