On average, 33.4% of meeting time is considered unproductive by meeting participants. We all can agree, nothing is worse than being stuck in a bad meeting. It’s already difficult for most employees to step away from their projects and tasks to sit in a meeting, so it is crucial that the meeting is productive. According to reports, the following are the most recorded complaints about meetings:
- No Published Results
- Individuals Dominate
- Poor Preparation
- Inconclusive / No Decisions Made
As the leader of the meeting, here are 4 tips MJ Executive Consulting suggests to help keep it on track.
1. Start With a Purpose
Did you know that only 37% of meetings are conducted with a pre-planned agenda? The opening five to seven minutes is the most important component of an effective meeting. You should always begin your meetings with an outline or agenda. After the meeting begins, let everyone know what is going to be discussed and accomplished at that time. By doing this, you are setting the foundation of the meeting, telling everyone why and how long they are there, and letting them know what needs to be accomplished.
Start On Time
If your meeting begins at 10 a.m., it should start at 10 a.m. Show your employees that their time is important to you. Don’t wait for late employees to start your meeting. If someone comes in late and misses important information, don’t start over. By doing this, you are showing employees who are on time that you appreciate their attendance and teaching employees that are late that punctuality is important. When you set punctuality as a standard, employees will learn the importance of being on time.
2. Encourage Everyone to Speak Openly
Everyone that is attending your meeting is there for a reason. It’s important to get input from everyone, not just the people who are eager to speak. Creating a space where all ideas are welcome makes quieter people more comfortable to express their ideas.
The natural tendency of meeting leaders is to speak on average 50% of the time. As a leader, don’t dominate the meeting. The leader of the meeting shouldn’t be the main speaker but should take the role of facilitator. Try using the round-robin technique, so everyone in the room has the opportunity for equal time.
Whenever possible, assign meeting leadership to other employees. This helps them build management and leadership skills. This also benefits the employee because they will learn a lot from planning the meeting, facilitating and preparing the agenda.
3. Keep the Discussion on Track
The two biggest time wasters are the inability to stay on track and press for closure.
A crucial job the meeting leader has is to keep the discussion on track. It’s very easy for a group of people to get distracted or go off subject. Make sure that everyone sticks to the items on the agenda and the discussion doesn’t wander.
After a subject has been brought up, discuss it thoroughly but press for closure on a decision. Once a decision has been made, quickly delegate tasks and set deadlines before moving onto the next item on the agenda.
4. Summarize the Action Plan
As the leader, make sure that everyone leaves on the same page. Designate the last few minutes of every meeting to summarize your time and action schedules, implementation plan and assignments.
Once people have agreed to act on their assignments, “peer pressure” usually takes place. People who agree to something in front of their peers are more likely to follow through. When everyone hears someone say they are going to do something, there is no excuse if it doesn’t get done.
Keep a Record
Within 24 hours after, send out the minutes from the meeting. If important decisions were made in the meeting, it is important to send them in writing as well. This ensures that everyone is on the same page and gives them an opportunity to ask questions.
If there aren’t any questions after you send the minutes, then the record of the meeting is accepted. If there are questions, this gives you an opportunity to improve your leadership and communication skills for the next meeting.
Are your meetings productive? MJ Executive Consulting specializes in meeting planning and facilitation. We can plan, organize and guide every aspect of your organization’s upcoming meeting or provide consulting services to help your employees accomplish your goals, missions, and visions at work. Contact us today for a free consultation.