- Posted by James Canada
Imagine 20th Century business leaders, if they came back to life today. Would they recognize any of our workplace processes, now mostly driven by technology? Perhaps the only familiar activity would be the timeless practice of holding meetings. The age-old challenge continues: how do we make meetings productive? We still hear people saying “Why did we have this meeting?” Or, “It seems like all we do is have meetings and nothing gets done.”
Holding meetings with clients and employees continues to be a critical component of doing business, and yet, many of us are unaware of how to run a meeting effectively. The definition of an effective meeting is bringing decision makers and influencers together at the right time with a well-defined outcome. Anytime we don’t know why we need to have a meeting, that’s a clue that we probably should not have one!
Here are five timeless strategies for creating effective meetings:
- Start and End on Time – The best way to engage your group is to respect each individual’s time. Waiting for latecomers is an insult to those present and teaches the late arrivals that it’s okay to disrespect the group. And if you start on time, you’re more likely to end on time, too!
- Follow Agenda – An agenda gets everyone on the same page and helps to keep the discussions from wandering off track.
- Stay On Subject – The best way to stay on subject is to create a “parking lot” list for stray items that come up during the discussion. Later, those items can be handled at another time by specific individuals or a smaller group.
- Mutual Respect – If you called this meeting, it’s important for you to facilitate the discussion so that each participant gets the opportunity to be heard. Sometimes, this requires interrupting someone who might be monopolizing the conversation.
- Establish Follow-Up – The key to effective meetings is identifying next steps and who is responsible. Always leave time at the end to summarize the action items and get consensus from the group.
You know you have mastered the formula for effective meetings when they produce the results you need to move your business forward. For more proven business strategies from James H. Canada, read his latest book “From Corporate To Entrepreneur—Strategies For Success”.
Jim is an operations, business development and program/project management leader with Executive Management experience in both Service and Manufacturing environments.
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