Would a business be able to run without regular work meetings? Goals and objectives would not be evaluated, team decisions would not be made and nobody would be on the same page. That sounds awful, doesn’t it? As you can see, meetings are essential, crucial even, but sometimes they aren’t always effective. To help out, I’ve put together five steps that should allow meetings to be more valuable, productive and enjoyable for you and your staff.
1. Define the purpose For a meeting to be effective, it must serve a particular purpose in achieving a goal, objective or outcome. Ask yourself what you want to accomplish and what you want your staff to learn. You should be able to tell them why they’ve been invited, how long the meeting is expected to last and what important topics need to be discussed.
2. Consider who you’re inviting If you’ve ever witnessed staff members searching the Web, typing on their smartphones or daydreaming during a meeting, then you know the frustration that comes along with it. How can you eliminate such a feeling? Considering who to invite could be a game-changer for two reasons. One, meetings will be much more efficient and appreciated if you only invite members who will be affected. Two, you might find your meetings more interesting and engaging if you invite those who tend to have insightful thoughts and ideas (and aren’t afraid to speak up during a group chat).
3. Take up a short amount of time Time is precious, wouldn’t you agree? When you schedule a meeting with a set time and notify your staff in advance, they are more likely to attend if it’s intended to be productive and as short as possible. So, how exactly can you keep meetings short? Referring back to a former HRPRO blog, conducting stand-up discussions will allow you to keep it brief and to the point. Another suggestion is to create an agenda for the meeting, and then allocate specific times for each topic you’d like to discuss (if there’s more than one). Next, set a timer and once it runs out, move on to the next topic.
4. Use visual aids Spice up your meetings, and by spice, I mean utilizing attention-grabbing visual aids. Many people are visual learners, and the use of posters, PowerPoint presentations and flipcharts can help your staff remember key points long after the meeting has ended. Posters should be prepared in advance with visuals that tell a story without anyone having to read text. On the other hand, a PowerPoint can include text but only an average of five bullet points per page. Further, flipcharts come in handy when you want to write down ideas freely and with ease.
5. Encourage feedback and ideas Staff members would enjoy meetings more if they could see their positive impact during decision-making processes. Not only would they share more ideas, but their commitment to your business would also improve. However, to keep meetings on track and within a certain time frame, politely wrap up discussions that are leading nowhere or becoming unproductive. You don’t want to lose control of your agenda.
Allison Barfield is a content writer for Span Enterprises and has been writing since she first learned to hold a pencil, shortly after birth. After graduating from the University of South Carolina in 2013 with a B.A. in media arts she fell in love with marketing. She's been copy writing and managing multiple blogs ever since.