After years of frustration, I want to share with you the steps I took to make my meetings more productive. My personal frustrations were with board meetings, but I know from experience that these steps can be used to improve the productivity of any meeting.
We have all sat in a meeting that could have been an email. Or a meeting that has been completely derailed. They're often unproductive and rarely lead to the outcomes we expect.
Unfortunately, even the most experienced people in business still seem to lack the skills to hold or participate in an effective meeting.
There's a simple solution to these frustrations. Here are two quick steps you can take to reclaim productive meetings:
Step 1: Be prepared. Set a clear agenda for the meeting and supply all supporting material as far in advance as possible.
Give the attendees every opportunity possible to be as prepared as they can be for the meeting. Providing them information in advance helps them to prepare for discussion and can lead to faster decision-making.
Where possible, provide attendees with the agenda, slide deck and any other relevant reports or documents as soon as they are available.
Step 2: Stay in control. During the meeting, keep the discussion at the right level for the audience, and on the topics outlined in the agenda.
Unfortunately, many meeting hosts allow their meetings to follow a natural course of conversation or lack authority or control over the meeting.
Depending on the background of the attendees, meetings can go astray by delving too far into a particular topic, or because attendees see the meeting as an opportunity to discuss their own agenda.
Keeping the conversation on track with the agenda and on time will help to focus the conversation and move it forward in a timely manner.
TAKEAWAY: For your next meeting, try these 2 simple steps to be more prepared before the meeting and take more control during it.