Meetings are unavoidable.
During our busy days as entrepreneurs, meetings can easily take up a lot of our time.
Of course, when meetings are scheduled, the purpose and intent of meetings always seem quite valuable, and, when a meeting is run properly, there is nothing better than leaving a productive meeting with a sense of accomplishment.
However, in many cases, a meeting's function and point can be lost due to poor planning and poor organization. When this happens, valuable time is wasted and important business objectives are not achieved.
For these reasons, it pays to learn how to run a good meeting. Here are some tips to maximize the efficiency of your meetings while minimizing the time you spend in them.
- Ask Whether You Really Need a Meeting. Some issues don't require a meeting and can be addressed via a quick discussion in the hallway, a phone call or an email. If you don't need a meeting, don't schedule it.
- Invite the Right People. Don't waste a colleague's time by inviting them to a meeting they don't need to attend. Similarly, don't conduct a meeting without the key decision makers who need to be there.
- Send Out Meeting Reminders. When sending meeting requests in Outlook, don't forget to check the box that sends each recipient a reminder before the meeting is supposed to begin. Even if you don't use Outlook, be sure to remind people about the meeting.
- Reserve the Room. Nothing is more annoying than going to a meeting only to find out you don't have a conference room reserved.
- Send Agendas Before the Meeting. Send out your agenda ahead of time so attendees can review the topics being covered and come to the meeting prepared.
- Start Meetings On Time. Arrive and start on time! Showing up late to a meeting pushes an entire group back.
- Stick to the Agenda. The purpose of the agenda is to outline things that need to be accomplished and covered in the meeting. Your meeting should stick to these tasks and you should be able to corral your group back together if they stray from the agenda.
- Don't Invite the Chairs. If your group tends to consistently run over and is unable to use time efficiently try a stand-up meeting (a meeting without chairs). People will get more accomplished without the comfort of sitting down and spreading out their things across a table.
- Build In Time for Meeting Wrap-Ups. Ten minutes before the meeting is scheduled to end ask the group if they have any questions. This allows for an effective wrap-up of the meeting and lets the group address any outstanding issues.
- Discuss Follow-Up Action Items During the Meeting. Assign people action items while they are still in the room instead of sending a follow-up e-mail including due dates.