Hate Meetings? 6 Tips to Fix That.
By Donnavan Finlay, Co-Founder of Guyding Principals.
We have all sat in a meeting and wondered why we are even there and questioned the time we spend in them. We have all thought that we have better things to do than sit there and listen to things that have nothing to do with us. We all agree that they are important, but is there a better way to have them that will be faster (more effective) and not jut a one way conversation? Here is some advise from me I have practiced over some time now to improve meeting overall.
Do proper planning.
Plan the meeting in advance. Plan everything that needs to be covered to avoid missing important discussion points. Good planning will also ensure the meeting does not go off course and end up about something completely different that what was the objective for the meeting.
Have time limits for talking points.
You need to limit time spent discussing points to ensure the meeting does not take longer than it needs to be. You need to get a resolution, but you don’t need all day to get there. Some points will take longer than others. Effective planning is needed with some practice and experience. Take notes of time spent on talking points in current meeting to get a ball park idea.
Get everyone involved.
When you have a meeting on a design project you can get other departments in as well. Get the sales department in as well to give their ideas for what they feel will be best. At the end of the day it is the sales team that will have to sell the product. Putting these teams together will save you time as you will not have to go back and forth to get the final product. You don’t need to mix the teams all the time but when you have deadline this always works from my experience.
Limit participants. Only decision makers.
There is no reason to get all the staff in a meeting that does not affect them. General meeting once a set period is good but not all the time. When you have to focus on production you need to have meetings with mostly only the people it affects directly. Decisions are made faster and production can keep going on without missing a beat.
As any leader I suggest you talk to all staff as well and make sure they know they can talk to you as owner or manager without being afraid. To wait for your staff to talk to their supervisor about an issue, then that supervisor talks to his superior. By the time the message gets to you, or you are made aware of a concern it could have been resolved already. Cut the red tape. We live in a fast society and we need to streamline all aspects, including communication.
When the meeting starts make sure everyone there is actually there. The less distractions there are the faster the meeting will be. Start off lite but keep the conversation at a good pace. You need to keep the participants attention. Avoid numbers if you can. Few staff actually understand what they mean. Only use information pertinent to the objectives of the meeting. Some people say no phones but that does not need to be the case. Phones for notes and calendar entries should be allowed.
Give out meeting agendas a day before.
To ensure all the above is going well, last bit of advise I have is to give out the meeting agenda at least a day before the meeting. This will give all the participants time to go over the talking points and make notes beforehand. It will ensure you have good participation and everyone will have some feedback that will ensure the information you get is accurate. When you have an off the cuff meeting people are usually thinking about all the things they still need to do and you do not get the quality information you need to make the changes that are needed. When a meeting is planned and staff are aware of the agenda they will feel more included and you can rely on getting quality information.
During the meeting allow staff to speak and get people involved. By doing this people will feel included and take pride in the decisions made. It will also give you the chance to hear what your staff is thinking and you might just find an individual that holds potential beyond the position the currently hold.
What is your worst meeting you have ever had to sit through?