7 powerful tips for more effective meetings
Meetings are a necessary evil in our calendars. Yet, only around 1 in 10 meetings are productive and worth the time and effort. I've found these seven tips invaluable in putting an end to unproductive meetings.
1) Leverage small talk
Small talk at the start of a meeting creates a strong foundation. Light conversations build relationships, establish rapport and form trust.
2) Discuss the agenda
The agenda should have been communicated to the participants well in advance of the meeting. However, before any detailed discussion begins, everyone needs to agree on:
What will be discussed
How much time should be committed to each item
The desired outcomes or objectives of the meeting
3) Leaders actively listen
Be the last, not the first, to speak. When discussing any agenda item, give your opinion last. Some team members will be intimidated by their leader and won’t put forward a difference of opinion. Others are just agreeable and will go along with whatever the boss says. Either way, you are killing potential ideas and discussion by speaking first.
4) Encourage engagement
Always actively listen to what the meeting participants are saying. Acknowledge their contributions and validate what has been said. Never speak over people and always be encouraging.
5) Be flexible
You have an agenda but don’t stick to it so rigidly that you shut down productive conversation. Allow some variation and diversions in the conversation, but if it strays too far off topic, bring it back to the agenda. The best way to do this is to ask how the discussion relates to the agenda.
6) Seek feedback
After everyone has contributed and you've stated your position, ask for feedback on what you have said and what others have said. Some people will be hesitant to question your opinion as a leader unless invited to do so.
All meetings need a conclusion. Clearly state the outcome of the meeting. What decisions have been made? What are the next steps? A defined outcome will have everyone leaving the meeting feeling productive.
TAKEAWAY: Putting these 7 tips into practice will ensure you have more productive, enjoyable meetings. Your team and all the attendees will thank you.