7 tips to run an effective meeting
Meetings are great tools to solve complicated problems, which require speed and decisiveness. If you followed our previously mentioned 7 ways, you can go ahead and send those meeting invitations with a clear conscience.
The invitations should be sent to all of the involved parties, which can actually help solve the problem, not to everyone. Once you have decided who to send the invitations to, make sure to include some documents or topics which will be discussed, so that they can prepare for the meeting. Besides putting the place and time of the meeting, you should also try to estimate how long the meeting will take. This is not easy, but your busy colleagues will appreciate it.
Now you know how to create the meeting, but how will you organize the meeting itself? Here are some tips which can help.
One person speaks...
Don’t let others interrupt you when you’re speaking, it’s disrespectful and unproductive. If everyone is talking at once and interrupting each other, there is no decision being made and no clear message sent. It just wastes time at the end.
Tip: Try to have a small ball or stuffed animal with you in the meeting. This might sound childish but it works! Whoever has the object can speak and once he is finished, he can pass it on to the next person. This not only makes meetings more effective but also fun.
...And the others listen.
Effective communication is a must between the participants. Avoid groups being created, as then they will only speak between each other and not pay attention to the person speaking. Also, the ones who were „left out“ of the groups will soon start checking their phone, blank out or start jumping into group conversations, which leads nowhere. This is a huge waste of time, as nothing gets done and just prolongs everything. It’s not beneficial for anyone, so try and keep the participants focused on the matter at hand.
As just mentioned, try and keep everyone focused. It’s very easy to meander off topic and start discussing something more „fun“, like yesterday’s match, but this goes nowhere. Once it starts going into this direction, it is up to the leader of the meeting to steer the discussion in the right direction again. It is in everyone’s interest to get to the point quickly and avoid long, meaningless meetings.
Tip: The leader of the meeting doesn’t necessarily have to be the manager. It should be someone who is familiar with the topic and who has excellent communication skills. Sometimes it’s even better if the manager is not leading the meeting, as he can then focus on other things while showing that he trusts his co-workers to get the job done. It’s a win-win situation J.
Make sure that all important ideas, topics and discussions are written down by someone (also known as the minute taker), so that it can be shared with everyone after the meeting. Also, it is helpful to have a whiteboard or board handy, as you can just write the 5 big themes there and then just point to it. Plus, it is visible to everyone so all participants know what is left on the agenda.
Follow the time frame
Keep in mind, that in order to cover everything in the meeting, you need some kind of deadline. Try to think about how long each topic in the meeting should take and build your meeting around it. Then, once you’re in the meeting, make sure you track your time. This can be done by either just checking your watch, having someone signal you when the time is up or even use a time tracker primaERP for it. This way you’ll be able to run the meeting smoothly and not get stuck on one specific topic.
Know when it’s over
Throughout the meeting, you will probably find yourself discussing one topic, which then will be split into several other ones. Everyone will add their opinion about it and you will want to give each one or group their specific answers. However, a general meeting is not the place for this. So if you have discussed all your topics, you can now finish the meetings and only continue discussing something with a select few. The ones who are not involved should leave, which will be better for both parts. If you haven’t discussed all the topics, then tell each group to take notes and that you will continue the discussion in a separate meeting. This way you can focus on the meeting at hand and the participants will also be happy to have a „private meeting“.
Once the meeting comes to an end, remember to positively summarize what you have discussed, what problems you have solved, what tasks you have created, etc. It doesn’t matter if the meeting was in fact a chaos or that you didn’t solve the things you wanted to solve. Just keep in mind to be positive about the things you did manage and the input the participants had. After the meeting, you have time to analyze it thoroughly, but for now, just summarize the good things, say thank you.