It is likely fair to say that when most people hear the word ‘meeting’ or see an appointment invite slip into their inbox, a few dreadful feelings fill their mind. Meetings tend to carry a negative connotation. Most individuals prefer control of their time throughout the day, and meetings interrupt this freedom. If a meeting is not organized properly, it can cause inefficiency and frustration to those in attendance. However, from a management perspective, structured and planned meetings allow necessary collaboration and planning. Effective communication that helps to build a team cannot always be done via the infamous email – and who are we kidding – do we all believe our emails are thoroughly read to completion with the level of understanding we desire?
Setting the State: Pre-Meeting Prep
Any meeting organizer should carefully consider the essential need for the meeting. Is this a topic that could be covered in another method of communication, or is this an instance where open discussion is necessary? The attendees should be appropriate and required. Refrain from inviting people who do not need to be part of the discussion. Written communication can still serve as reinforcement of a plan or process established from the discussion.
Mastering the Meeting
Start the meeting promptly and be observant of time. Time is one of the most valuable resources we are privileged to have, so be respectful of others’ schedules. The organizer should effectively control the meeting. Do not let discussions run off into last weekend’s activities or the newest Hulu binged show – focus on pre-planned topics with a specific format for the meeting. It’s also important to make sure that effective notes are being taken to document the discussion and reiterate any assigned tasks. Be specific and exact about who has ownership and find a timeline for the completion of any tasks. Finally, if you can finish a meeting before the outlined time, then do so. Giving people time back in their day is a win, which is always appreciated!
After any meeting, the organizer must be diligent in following up timely on action items. If you organized the meeting, make sure to oversee the completion of all tasks and schedule any follow-up sessions. It is essential to show the benefit of the collaboration. People will be more vested with their time and contributions to future meetings when they experience tangible results and know their time was used respectfully and effectively. Lead the way to selective, structured meetings to improve your efficiencies, ideas, and team camaraderie!
This blog is not a solicitation for business and it is not intended to constitute legal advice on specific matters, create an attorney-client relationship, or be legally binding in any way.