Conducting productive meetings
Of all the snags in productivity, meetings are often considered one of the greatest. However, paradoxically, effective meetings can have a positive impact on your bottom line.
Are your meetings productive? Are you able to smoothly steal the show? Do you feel tongue tied when asked to address the group in a meeting? During a meeting, do you focus on the agenda at hand or do you concentrate more on breaking a foam cup into bits? Are you always at tenterhooks before a meeting? If yes, follow the tips below: Before you call a meeting, first must decide whether it is necessary. Remember a meeting is not always the most effective way. Other options like sending a memo or an email may be useful. It is your responsibility as meeting solicitor to determine the need for calling a meeting and who should attend. In general, it is best to invite as few participants as possible. As a solicitor you must review the organisation's calendar, reserve the meeting room and assign a meeting facilitator to be in charge of the agenda.
Come to the meetings on time and if you are going to be absent, inform others beforehand and send a stand-in who can make at least some decisions in your name.
Set the objective
Well begun, they say, is half done. Before calling a meeting ask yourself the following: Do you want a decision? Do you want to generate ideas?
Are you getting status reports?
Are you communicating something? Are you making plans? Any of these, and a myriad of others, is an example of a meeting objective. Before you do any meeting planning, you need to focus on your objective. To help you determine what your meeting objective is, complete this sentence: At the close of the meeting, I want the groupto…
Starting with your meeting objective, everything that happens in the meeting itself should further that objective. If it doesn't, it's superfluous and should not be included. To ensure you cover only what needs to be covered and you stick to relevant activities, you need to create an agenda. The agenda is what you will refer to in order to keep the meeting running on target and on time.
To prepare an agenda, consider factors like priorities, results, participants, sequence, date and time, and place. With an idea of what needs to be covered and for how long, you can look at the information that should be prepared beforehand. What do the participants need to know in order to make the most of the meeting time?
If it's a meeting to solve a problem, ask the participants to come prepared with a viable solution. If you are discussing an ongoing project, have each participant summarise his or her progress to date and circulate the reports amongst members.
Assigning a particular topic of discussion to various people is another great way to increase involvement and interest. On the agenda, indicate who will lead the discussion or presentation of each item. Use your agenda as your time guides. When you notice that time is running out for a particular item, consider hurrying the discussion, pushing to a decision, deferring discussion until another time, or assigning it for discussion by a subcommittee.
An important aspect of running effective meetings is insisting that everyone respects the time allotted. Start the meeting on time, do not spend time recapping for latecomers, and, when you can, finish on time. Whatever can be done outside the meeting time, should be. This includes circulating reports for people to read beforehand, and assigning smaller group meetings to discuss issues relevant to only certain people. As productivity has been somewhat of a main focus, naturally we are going to wrap up the meeting talking about just that- productivity. You certainly don't want it to all be a waste of time, so be sure that something gets accomplished in the meeting. You have all come together for a specific purpose, and if you are going to claim victory over the disappointing, unproductive meeting gods, then you are going to have to make measurable efforts towards satisfying or achieving said purpose. So above all else, make sure that some sort of decision gets made. Make sure that you bring order to chaos and bring everyone on the same page about everything that has been presented and discussed. As always, clarity is everybody's friend here, so take care to not let things end in any sort of vague areas. Do a quick summary of the meeting out loud for the sake of everyone attending, so that once again all points of interest are addressed and all decisions can be reiterated. Make sure that everyone knows where the expectations are at this point as you move forward to keep the project on point and progressing smoothly. After the meeting is over, take some time to debrief, and determine what went well and what could have been done better. Evaluate the meeting's effectiveness based on how well you met the objective. This will help you continue to improve your process of running effective meetings. You may even want to get the partici- pants' feedback as well. Depending on the time frame, this debriefing can be done within the meeting itself or afterward. Finally, prepare the meeting notes to be forwarded to all participants and other stakeholders. It is a record of what was accomplished and who is responsible for what as the team moves forward. This is a very crucial part of effective meetings that often gets overlooked. You need a written record of what transpired, along with a list of actions points and owners of those actions.
Following the above tips will remove all snags from them and make them what initially they are supposed to focus and escalate…