Monday, March 25, 2013

Top Tips for Better Meetings

We have all been there - the endless meetings that seem to go no where or a calendar so pack with meetings you don’t know how you will do the work that comes from the meetings. Let’s stop the insanity! Here are the top tips to improve meetings for better results and shorter time frames so we call get more done.
Rules of Engagement
Set the ground rules of how your meetings will be structured. Don’t allow phones, tablets, laptops unless needed for presentation purposes. This avoids distractions and allows participates to be fully engaged. No meeting should be over an hour. Attention spans wane. If a topic needs more time, then break it up into pre-scheduled meetings or adjourn for a continuation meeting. Start meetings on time. Late comers have to jump in and don’t recap. They need to be respectful of everyone’s time.

Laser Focus
All meetings must a defined, measurable goal. This could be determine a new vendor, evaluate the potential for a sales contract, or brainstorm 3 ideas for new sales tactics. Whatever the meeting is for its goal must be measurable, meaningful, and define. This drives the why of the meeting. Drill this home with a focused agenda. Send the agenda to all parties as early as you can prior to the meeting. The agenda needs to highlight the goal of the meeting and detail the questions or topics to be reviewed.

Tricks of the Trade
Send out support materials ahead of time, preferably at least 24 hours prior to the meeting. This allows everyone to absorb or at least skim your talking points. This drives educated questions and streamlines meeting time by avoiding diving through the details and going straight to questions and actionable decisions. Don’t forget the follow up. The person that held the meeting is responsible for achieving the meeting’s goal. A summary email following the meeting bullet pointing the topic and the measurable results (or lack there of) not only keeps everyone in the know, but also keeps the meeting host accountable.  

Try these tips and share if you saw improvement. Have other ideas? Please share below. Happy Meeting!