Work Meetings: An hour or more of wasted effort ?

Ever entered a meeting wondering the scope and purpose of why it has been set? Ever wondered whether there was really need for a meeting to discuss a few trivial elements which could have been resolved via a simple email?

You surely are not the only one. These below tips are set to guide you and your team to have more effective meetings.

Set the agenda in advance

Ensure that you have all the listed points set before the meeting. This will ensure that the topics which need to be addressed are discussed. Best to make sure that the agenda is distributed to the attendees at least a day before the meeting, to enable time for preparation. For meetings which are held regularly to discuss projects, you may create a template to save time. Once this is set, updating it becomes a simple matter of filling in the blanks. Let the agenda points guide you during the meeting and make sure that it stays on track with these discussion points.

Review the attendee list

The people in the meeting room are key in determining the effectiveness of your meeting. The absence of the required manager/director may make the efforts of the meeting futile as a decision may not be made following extensive discussions. In this regard one needs to make sure that he is inviting only the relevant people and hence should limit the amount of people attending. Meetings should be conducted with a view where a decision on the way forward needs to be taken.

Take Minutes

People often forget it, however it is an essential. The reason behind this is so that attendees may record any questions or assignments that have been directed at them. It would be ideal to use a paper notepad, instead of a laptop or tablet as other attendees may assume you are answering another email or working on something which is off-topic. This is also necessary for attendees taking minutes who will then send an email with the feedback collated throughout the meeting.

Manage time  

Meeting organisers should monitor the discussion taking place to ensure that the allocated time is being adhered to. When no one is keeping tabs on time, it becomes easy to steer off subject and dilute the effectiveness of that meeting.

Following Up

Mastering the art of follow up is a key skill for professionals. Following up on the developments of the meeting ascertains that the decisions discussed are being executed via the appropriate action. For high priority matters, it would be ideal to make calendar notes so that a follow up is made.


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