Monday, August 15

How to Make Your Work Meetings More Efficient

Meetings are a fundamental part of teamwork. Whether you run a small business or you’re part of a larger company, it’s essential to carry them out regularly in order to help allow yourself and your business to make important decisions. However, despite their value, oftentimes not everything goes as it should. 

For instance, there might be delays that lead to valuable time getting wasted. Or perhaps it was rushed or haphazard, and you lost your train of thought. Or maybe once it finished, the decisions that were made weren’t used. If you’re looking to ace your next business meeting, then here are some tips that you can use before, during, and afterward.

What to Do Before the Meetings

Believe it or not, you can tell if a meeting is going to be successful even before it begins. Everything leading up to it can impact its performance. If its preparation is somehow lacking, then the meeting will be, too. For this reason, it’s important to know the basic steps that you need to follow if you want it to be a success. 

First of all, you must ask yourself if the meeting is actually necessary. It may seem obvious, but for many businesses, it may not be. If you think about it carefully, many meetings shouldn’t even take place. This usually occurs when the topic at hand can be resolved with fewer people, without the need to involve the entire team. 

This is why it’s important to carefully consider the purpose of a meeting before you even call it. If you can’t think of a strong enough reason to proceed, then it may not be necessary to continue with it. If you decide to have the meeting, though, two of the most important factors are the attendees and the time. 

You must also avoid inviting unnecessary guests at all costs. This can generate delays that may put its efficiency at risk. Time is incredibly vital, as meetings can halt production throughout the entire company. That’s why you must organize everything for your meeting beforehand, and always stick to the established time limits.

Lastly, preparation is the key. Whether you’re an organizer or an assistant, you must arrive properly prepared. Otherwise, you could waste valuable time on the rest of the team and generate delays in the established program. If you’re an organizer, you can save time by using tools like the meeting minutes template to avoid any loss of time. 

If you’re an assistant, educate yourself on whatever the subject of the meeting is, just in case you need to provide additional information. By being proactive about both of these steps, you can help see the meeting doesn’t last too long and work continues to run smoothly afterward.

What to Do During the Meetings

The first thing to enforce when planning a meeting is punctuality. You must always consider both your time and the time of the other attendees, too. A delay on your part can delay the entire process. Because of this, it’s important to start the meetings at the scheduled hours on all occasions, as this can help lead to better punctuality habits within your entire team for future events. 

There are also three big “no-nos” in meetings:

  1. First, no electronic devices should be permitted. Although we live in a digital era, there are times when we must disconnect from our devices and focus on what’s in front of us. During meetings, the only device that should be accepted is the one used to record the meeting’s minutes.
  2. Second, egos should be checked at the door. Our egos are often the root of much of the inefficiency within meetings, no matter how well organized they are. Eliminating the ego before you start can have a twofold advantage. Not only does it eliminate lengthy disagreements, but unnecessary chatter can also be avoided.
  3. Finally, interruptions should be kept to a minimum. This is one of the most common problems that can arise during a meeting. Many people don’t know how to actively listen. Instead, they may constantly interrupt speakers, or they might be more preoccupied about what they’re going to say next instead of focusing on what’s being said.

What to Do After the Meetings

Many believe that once the meeting is over, there’s nothing left to do. When the meeting draws to a close, however, there are still two important steps to take to ensure that the meeting was successful. First, the minutes of the meeting (including all notes and decisions made) need to be sent to the attendees so they can have a record of them. 

Furthermore, any actions and decisions that were finalized during the meeting must also be monitored to make sure they’re actually implemented. Simply keeping tabs on your team can help verify this information. By following these guidelines, it’s almost guaranteed the meeting will be a success — leading to a more productive workplace overall.

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