- Posted by: Jade Brindley
- Categories: tips, Uncategorized
The world of business moves fast and, like many people who own and run their own business, there probably aren’t enough hours in the day.
While many of the meetings you either hold or attend are probably vital for the overall smooth running of your business, they can take your time and focus away from what you do best.
Throw in working from home due to a global pandemic and many of us would be forgiven for being Zoomed-out and tired of Teams.
However, the wheels of the economy never stop turning.
Meetings – with your team, customers, prospects, or suppliers – are essential to keep pushing your business forwards. So, the key lies in making the most of the time, keeping them on-track, and ensuring they are productive.
After all, you’ll probably want to focus most of your time and attention on what you love doing the most at work, rather than being stuck in a seemingly never-ending round of meetings.
Here are our top tips for making your meetings more productive:
Set your goals
Having a clear idea of what you want the meeting to focus on and what you want to achieve from it is the key to making your meetings as productive as possible.
By cutting out the fluff, keeping things on track, and not allowing delegates to stray from the issues at hand, you can keep your meetings to time, avoid unnecessary conversations and make the best use of everyone’s time.
Closely linked to this is whether you need a meeting in the first place. If your objectives can be achieved simply by picking up the phone or sending an email, then you might not even need to pull anyone into a more formal gathering.
So, use your common sense and keep the end goal in mind.
Have an agenda
Once you’ve defined what your meeting goals are, creating an agenda is a crucial next step.
An agenda can help set expectations for those taking part, keep things to time, and ensure the conversation doesn’t stray too far from the matter at hand.
While talking around issues to find the right solutions is important, a set agenda which allows time for debate will help keep your meetings focused and on point.
So, building in time slots for discussions and any planning that might need to happen to ensure you can carry out all the actions that come from it will ensure everyone comes away with clear instructions in mind.
Many things get discussed and decided at meetings, so taking explicit notes about what was said, what was decided, and by whom can help avoid lots of problems further down the line, when people might not remember.
This doesn’t mean you need to write down everything that’s been said but noting key decisions and talking points is a must.
If you’re leading the meeting, you may not be able to take notes and keep things on track, so always ensure you have someone in the meeting whose role it is to take minutes, type them up, and circulate them after for everyone to agree.
Set actions and timelines
One of the most important things you’ll want to come out of any meeting, once decisions have been made, is which actions were given, who they’ve been assigned to, and when they need completing by.
So, assigning clear actions and deadlines is vital, otherwise, things get ambiguous, arguments can ensue over who does what, and nothing ends up getting done.
Invite the right people
Most of you know the old saying, ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’, right?
It can be applied to many situations and business meetings is one of them.
So, when drawing up your list of attendees, ask yourself who needs to be there and who needs briefing after.
Dragging your whole team in to discuss and make a decision about something which doesn’t affect them is not only not a good use of their time, it can also lead to long, protracted, and unnecessary conversations.
So, keep the attendees’ list on a need-to-know basis, as you can always brief the wider team later once the decisions have been made.
Provide a briefing
One of the best ways of keeping a meeting productive and to the point is ensuring everyone is clear what it’s about and has all the information and context they need to make the discussion constructive.
So, if there is any information that needs to be read beforehand, make sure you share it. There’s no bigger waste of time in a meeting than having people read reports or papers that they could have seen before. So, keep things focused by providing all the information ahead of the meeting, so everyone knows the context and background and can make decisions more easily.
Give everyone a chance to speak
In every meeting, there are usually one or two dominant personalities who take up the lion’s share of the conversation. He who shouts loudest and all that.
However, allowing a small number of attendees to dominate meetings can not only leave other people feeling left out, it means you may not get to hear the full range of opinions, ideas, or solutions. So, making sure everyone gets a chance to speak is essential.
You can do this by either building a slot into the agenda for each meeting delegate, going around the table at the end of each agenda item, or building in an ‘any other business’ section at the end.
The goal here isn’t to create a free for all. It is, however, important to ensure that everyone feels they have contributed and not been excluded.
Let us help you keep your meetings on track
Sometimes, it’s hard to see the wood for the trees in business.
So, if you’re looking to make better use of your time, become more productive, and free yourself up to focus on working on, instead of in, your business, then give us a call or fill out your details here to book a free consultation.