Love them or hate them, meetings are essential for teams to make decisions and cannot be avoided.
You could write a book on how to have more efficient meetings (David’s written 4…) but who’s got time to do that?
David’s done the hard work for you and has summarised the most important things you should do when planning your meeting so that everyone’s time is respected, including yours.
More efficient meetings follow accepted best practices. Here’s David’s top 10:-
The agenda should be crystal clear on the expected outcomes for each item. The decision to be made should be clearly written on the agenda so the team knows what to discuss, keeping the meeting on track.
Recap the ground rules at the beginning of every meeting until it’s clearly no longer necessary.
Ban full reports being read aloud. Insist on brief summaries.
Everyone should come prepared (except in really exceptional circumstances). Unprepared people will nearly always say “I’ve been very busy”. So has everyone else. Here are 3 ways to deal with this…
Close the meeting if it’s integral for everyone to be there. Alternatively, skip their item.
Ask the person to leave the meeting (some groups have this as a ground rule)
Proceed without input from that person.
Do this and you will find the team rise to the level of the standards you set.
Only invite people that need to be at the meeting.
Once a person has given their report on their relevant item/s allow them to leave the meeting.
Short upbeat meeting ice-breakers set the mood and tone. Efficient meetings will then move straight into the business on the agenda. Be careful though – don’t make the ice-breakers corny.
Vary the meeting chair. The boss doesn’t necessarily have to lead the meeting. Once you chair a meeting you have more respect for the whole process.