4 Simple Steps to Planning a Productive Meeting

4 Simple Steps to Planning a Productive Meeting

Source: https://www.ringcentral.co.uk/blog/4-steps-planning-productive-meeting/

Author: Irina Kirnos

A lot of things in the business world rely on preparation.

You wouldn’t present a new offering to a client before planning your approach first, yet many companies jump straight into meetings without thinking about what they want to accomplish. Unfortunately, about 59% of employees feel less engaged at work because they’re constantly being disrupted by poor-quality meetings.

Used correctly, a meeting can be a valuable place to share ideas, set expectations for your team, and bring people together. However, you need to approach the experience in the right way. The following four steps will help you to make your meetings as productive and efficient as possible.

Step 1: Make Sure your Meeting has a Purpose

First, you need to set a goal for your meeting to ensure that it’s necessary. It’s easy to assume that a formal meeting is still the best way to have a discussion with your peers. However, if you can deliver the same information in a 5-minute audio call, or send a message via instant chat, then there’s no need to disrupt your entire team.

Think about what you want to accomplish, i.e.

  • Share crucial business news (could you send an alert or notification instead?)
  • Highlight crucial goals for the next quarter (could you set deadlines on new projects in a workforce management tool?)
  • Touch base with the workforce (would a video conference be more effective?)

Once you’ve decided why you’re having your meeting, make sure you’re inviting the right people to participate to. Everyone in your conference or huddle room should have a reason to be there.

Step 2: Prepare the Meeting’s Structure

Next, start creating an agenda that will help to keep you on topic as you move through the meeting. It’s easy to get distracted in social situations and go off on a tangent. However, that’s what causes sessions to last for hours instead of minutes.

Write down the objective of your meeting so that you remember it and figure out which things you’ll need to cover to make your point. If it helps, write a list of bullet points for issues to address. Make sure that you have any tools you need set up before the meeting too, such as virtual whiteboards, recording features, and more. As you move through your meeting:

  • Cover each news topic and announcement quickly and concisely
  • Present data and metrics in a unique, visual way to keep the audience engaged
  • Define what each member of your team needs to take away from the meeting and give them action steps to follow when they return to work.

Step 3: Avoid Common Meeting Pitfalls

One of the best things you can do when you’re hosting a meeting is make sure that you don’t allow yourself to veer off track. It’s all too easy to get lost when you’re in a meeting environment and connecting with people you might not talk to very often. Remember to avoid the following issues:

  • Letting the meeting run for too long: Don’t give yourself an hour to discuss a 15-minute conversation. When too much time is set aside for a meeting, that time is often wasted. Get straight to the point so people can get back to work.
  • Allowing room for digression: Stick to the agenda and stop your discussions from wandering off on tangents. There’s no space for griping and digressions when you’re running a quick and cohesive meeting.
  • Forgetting to keep people engaged: If you’re the host of a meeting, then you have a responsibility to keep your attendees engaged. This could mean using the latest tools like digital whiteboards and exciting presentation to make sure your team stays interested.

Step 4: Make Meetings Available Anywhere, Any Time

Finally, remember that in the modern workplace, your team members won’t always be available in-office, to come with you to a board or conference room. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they should be left out of crucial discussions if they need to be there.

Today’s cloud-based collaboration and communication environment ensure that anyone can be part of a meeting, regardless of where they are. With huddle and conference rooms, you can invite your remote workers to take part in conversations using video conferencing tools.

Don’t be afraid to let meetings go beyond the conference room.

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