When appropriately done, meetings are an excellent tool for addressing conflicts, making critical decisions, evaluating performance, and achieving goals. When performed improperly, they tend to waste time and resources.
Some common mistakes make many meetings ineffective and a waste of time. Here are some tips to help you address those mistakes and make your meetings more effective.
1.Holding a meeting when an email will do
Meetings are notorious for being a waste of time. Meetings shouldn’t be called just for the sake of calling a meeting or communicating something that could be conveyed via email. And definitely not for planning the agenda for some future meeting.
Meetings need to be about communication, not just forwarding basic information. Don’t just have a meeting because it is on the schedule. Instead, email important updates or share a video where you provide the necessary information. Your colleagues will thank you for not wasting their time.
2. Not setting a clear agenda or purpose
A meeting shouldn’t take place if it lacks purpose. 63% of meetings tend to have no agenda, which is one of the main reasons people find meetings a waste of time and energy.
You need to ask yourself some questions before deciding the goal of the meeting. Here are some common objectives that most meetings tend to have.
- Creation and Innovation
- Information sharing (Information that you know will generate further discussion.)
Having a clear agenda ensures that the meeting stays on track. Post the agenda where all participants can see it or send it to all participants ahead of time. Anyone who attempts to go off-topic can be reminded of the agenda. Offer to put their concerns on the next meeting’s agenda or to discuss it with them in private.
Bonus Tip: To help your meeting stand out and provide clarity, give the meeting a title or a label. This will help the participants remember the purpose of the meeting.
3 Not giving participants time to think
What type of meeting would you prefer? One where you present slides during the meeting expecting attendees to provide feedback. Or having them bring ideas to the meeting and discuss them. Isn’t the latter a better option? Communicating to the participants before the meeting gives them time to think and better prepare their ideas. This will also help run the meeting more efficiently. The participants will be more articulate and confident with what they are presenting. When participants know that the meeting is about problem-solving, they can come to the meeting better prepared to discuss that topic.
4. Not assigning roles to participants
The leader’s responsibility is to assign roles to individual attendees and provide them with a clear set of guidelines. Allocating jobs leads to increased productivity, and fulfilling goals will be much easier. Sharing responsibilities so that everyone has a purpose will increase feelings of inclusiveness. It will also give individuals time to prepare. We have all been in meetings where no one knew how to turn on the projector. The simple act of making someone responsible for the equipment would eliminate this problem in the future.
5. Using the wrong venue
In different situations, we behave differently. Decide on a location based on the agenda and the number of attendees. An office can be fine for a more formal gathering. If you don’t want hierarchical seating, a room with small tables might be a better option.
Meetings are typically held in offices, but if you choose a different venue, ensure that it is centrally located to all attendees. You don’t want people driving long distances to attend a meeting.
6. Starting the meeting right away with content
Don’t assume that the participants are familiar with one another or comfortable discussing the issues in front of one another. You need to build some connections before providing the content. Using an ice breaker to put meeting participants at ease can go a long way toward making a meeting more productive.
A Harvard University study divided participants into two groups and sent them on a scavenger hunt. As an icebreaker, one group performed a brief team clapping routine. The other group, on the other hand, did not. The first group won because the participants were far more willing to communicate with one another.
Bonus Tip: The Colored Candy Game – Each player selects various colored candies. Each color symbolizes a different type of question. Blue candy, for example, stands for the “What is your favorite character from a TV show.” Each participant answers these questions, helping participants get to know one other personally.
These are just a few ways to make your meetings run smoothly and more productively. Making these changes will improve the outcomes of your meetings and may even reduce the need to have so many.