Bad meetings are common in many offices and easy to pick apart, but good meetings are paramount to business and are harder to define. Effective meetings capture and hold the attention of your audience and provide clear, concise information. In general, when holding meetings, you should work to influence and empower the people who care the most about your company.
The first step in running an effective meeting is to plan your agenda before you call the meeting. Write it down, and make a list of everything that needs to be covered, including who should attend. Plan out what you are going to share by using a bullet-point list instead of writing detailed paragraphs. This helps you keep the meeting brief. A well-organized, effective meeting is more captivating than one that never gets to the point, and it helps engage your attendees. Give everyone attending the meeting a task. One person can take notes, another person can keep the time, and another person can write down all of the ideas that are discussed on a whiteboard. Stick with your agenda and refer back to it if the conversation starts to run off course.
The second tip in running an effective meeting is to ban all technology. Allowing employees to bring cellphones, computers, tablets and other electronics into the room is an invitation for people to not pay attention or contribute to the conversation. Unless the technology product is being used for the presentation or serving another purpose, such as providing telecommunications with someone from another location, it is best to leave all electronics at your desk. Pay close attention to the body language of the people in the meeting and make adjustments if necessary. You may also want to see if anyone needs a break if the meeting is running long. Instead of allowing employees to play with phones and fidget, offer everyone a minute to stretch.
Provide all attendees with a recap after you have presented your information. Briefly touch on everything that was said by reading the whiteboard; some items may require further discussion. The end of the meeting is also the time to ask for additional feedback to see what could have been done to make the meeting better. An effective meeting provides everyone with a meeting summary, either through email or with an interoffice memo.
Effective meetings are valuable and productive. By following some simple meeting tips, you can make sure each of your meetings serves a purpose. Your team should enjoy getting together to brainstorm ideas and learn about company goals. It is important to create an atmosphere that benefits your employees. An effective meeting is well-planned, concise and requires everyone to be engaged.
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