28 Sep 4 Must-do Strategies to Keep Your Meetings on Track
How many times have you left a meeting and seriously questioned what, if anything, was accomplished?
People lose a lot of precious time—both on the job, and even in their personal lives—due to unproductive meetings. But, while some argue that we should do away with meetings for good, they’re still an effective way to communicate and get things done. The key is to keep them on track. Here’s how:
- Start by defining the purpose of the meeting. What’s the problem, and does this problem actually warrant getting two or more people together for a meeting? Once you have the purpose nailed down, it will be your guiding light to ensure the meeting accomplishes its goal.
- Make sure the right people attend. Use this simple rule: Do you really need everyone that you’ve invited? Meetings run more smoothly when only those critical to the purpose are there. And, once you’ve whittled down the attendee list, you may also want to assign roles (especially if it’s a large group) so participants know what’s expected of them during the meeting. Possible roles are: leader, facilitator, contributor, expert and note taker.
- Create an agenda and stick to it. Once you know what the meeting should accomplish and who must attend, put together an agenda to prioritize what needs to be discussed. This ensures the allotted time is used efficiently. The agenda can be as brief or detailed as needed and usually includes:
- A prioritized list of topics
- An estimate of how much time to dedicate to each topic
- The results you want to get out of the meeting
Prior to the meeting, send out the agenda so attendees know what to expect and they can do any necessary prep work.
- Know how to manage meeting derailers. A meeting can easily go off track when attendees’ conversations run amok. If you want a successful meeting, figure out how to politely and efficiently manage the interactions that might derail your meeting. Detrimental interactions can include:
- Monopolizing the discussion
- Whispering and having side conversations
- Playing devil’s advocate that rouses the group into fighting
- Sidetracking the group into unrelated topics