14 Tips For Smoothly Managing Your Meetings
Even if many people don’t like them, meetings are unavoidable in the business world. Considering this, the best we can do is make them as productive and useful as possible.
Learn below the best practices in meeting management, and you‘ll never think again that a certain meeting was a waste of time.
Why Is Meeting Management Important?
Meetings allow your staff to discuss strategies, concerns, and ideas in a group setting.
A successful meeting is one in which everyone feels heard and respected and leads to overall positive company culture.
An effective meeting also allows attendees to collaborateto discuss their ideas and projects. Additionally, team members address any bottlenecks they experience and solidify objectives to work toward.
Image Source: Mind Meister
On the other hand, bad meetings might lower staff morale, rehash already discussed topics, or leave team members confused about their goals or projects.
Employing effective meeting management for regular meetings at your company can:
- Strengthen management-employee relationships
- Ensure that everyone has a voice
- Move projects along your desired timeline
- Make sure the employees are engaged
Successful meetings can also save time by addressing key issues quickly and bringing everyone together on the same page.
Effective meeting management is necessary for every company. Explore this guide to learn actionable tips for smooth meeting management.
6 Things to Keep in Mind When Scheduling a Meeting
Before scheduling a meeting, you should consider whether it's warranted and, if it is, how to best achieve a successful meeting. Unfortunately, meeting collaboration in most organizations is broken. So you need to consider the following when planning your meeting.
What Are You Trying To Achieve with This Meeting?
Nailing down an objective for your meeting can help you decide what type of meeting and meeting structure to hold.
Doing so will help you plan your meeting, consider different meeting types, budget a time frame for the meeting, and determine who to invite.
What Kind of Meeting Are You Having?
Should you host a brainstorming sessionor a longer decision-making meeting?
Your goals for the meeting should be clear enough to come up with a precise meeting structure that keeps everyone on the same page.
Who Are You Inviting To This Meeting?
Choosing the right meeting participants can determine whether you'll have a successful meeting. Likely, the entire company will not need to attend all meetings.
Some meetings may only require senior people and the chief executive, while others are geared more toward the finance or technical departments.
Inviting only the necessary meeting participants helps you address issues with just the people they concern.
Do You Actually Need a Meeting or Can It All Be Sent in an Email?
A frequent meeting schedule isn't always necessary. In some cases, non-essential meetings can hinder employee productivity and creativity , especially when they interrupt their usual process.
Before scheduling a meeting, ask yourself if what you need to share is maybe best for a detailed email. If you believe a meeting is necessary, consider hosting quick virtual meetings instead.
Can You Solve the Problem by Yourself?
You may be able to resolve an issue you want to discuss at a meeting on your own or with another employee or two.
Although it may take a little more effort on your part, it could allow your staff to maintain their productivity.
Are You Adequately Prepared for the Meeting?
Spend time preparing for any meeting you set to ensure success. Organize your notes and plan your topics ahead of time.
For remote meetings, be sure to check your audio and video equipment beforehand to prevent technical delays.
14 Tips For Smooth Meeting Management
The following meeting management tips can keep each meeting on track and encourage positive outcomes.
1. Be Prepared and On-Time
Set a meeting time that you feel is the most convenient for you and your team without intruding on productivity. Depending on your business, this could be first thing in the morning, at the end of the day, or right after lunch.
Once you set your meeting time, be sure to attend the meeting on time. In doing so, you model the behavior you'd like to see in your team.
Prepare for the meeting the day before or the morning of. Check that any needed equipment or paperwork is ready to go and that each participant has RSVP'd.
2. Create an Agenda and Follow It
A meeting agenda keeps your meeting on track and helps you set a time limit for the meeting.
An agenda typically includes any items you'd like to discuss, who will take over that part of the meeting, and how long each portion will last.
The benefit of listing agenda items is that each participant will know exactly what to expect during the meeting and how much time they need to set aside.
Stick to your agenda as closely as possible to stay on track and streamline your meeting.
3. Have an Objective and Start the Meeting Off by Stating It
An objective outlines the purpose of the meeting. Having an objective in mind keeps the target on the issue or issues at hand, preventing you from veering off into different directions during the meeting.
Even if you have multiple topics to tackle, there should always be a principal objective that they springboard back to.
It's a good idea to state this objective at the start of the meeting to let all participants know your primary purpose for holding the meeting. You might also want to add it to the top of the agenda for participants who are more visual than auditory learners.
4. Have A Stand Up Meeting
Consider hosting a stand-up meeting rather than a traditional sit-down, round-table session for quick meetings.
A stand-up meeting is just as it sounds: Participants stand up rather than sit down.
This type of meeting is somewhat informal and is often best for teams with a few topics to discuss before working on the day's projects.
If you believe your team could benefit from fast, daily meetings more than weekly or monthly longer meetings, a stand-up meeting is an excellent option. Gather everyone first thing in the morning, fire away topics and discussion, and let everyone break off to complete their tasks.
5. Assign Meeting Roles
A traditional team meeting with several participants could benefit from role assignments, which you can also add to the agenda.
This is especially helpful for long meetings with a lot of covered information.
Some roles to assign could include:
- Meeting facilitator:The facilitator creates the agenda and prepares for the meeting. During the meeting, they are usually the primary speakers who introduce others, ask questions to engage participants in the discussion, and keep the meeting moving.
- Speaker or presenter:Speakers or presenters address participants through lectures or presentations based on the meeting's topics.
- Notetaker:This person writes down essential information discussed during the meeting that is then shared with participants later. Some companies choose to record their meetings rather than take notes.
- Rule enforcer:Large meetings may benefit from a rule enforcer, who ensures that all participants respect and follow meeting objectives and rules.
- Timekeeper:This person’s role is to make sure that the meeting times outlined in the agenda are adhered to. This prevents topics or discussions from taking longer than the time budget allows.
6. Encourage Active Participation and Discussion
An effective meeting requires participants to share their ideas, questions, and concerns. The facilitator and speakers should encourage open discussion by asking questions or occasionally leaving the floor open for input.
Active listening is also an essential part of a meeting.
Active listening is a conscious effort to listen to and absorb information. At the start of a meeting, let participants know that you expect them to listen and participate throughout the session actively.
7. Make Sure You Close Any Topics Discussed
Before moving onto a new topic, close the current topic succinctly.
If meeting participants still have more input to share, you can ask them to jot down their ideas and share them with you in a one-on-one meeting or email.
Then, be clear about closing the conversation.
You might transition by saying, "We've used this past 20 minutes to discuss our latest customer acquisition strategies. Now, let's move on to our social media marketing strategy."
8. Summarize the Point of the Meeting and the Outcomes
At the end of your meeting, consider restating the meeting's objective to summarize the topics covered.
Then, give participants an overview of the outcomes you discussed. This gives them time to jot down more notes or think of any follow-up questions they might have.
This is also a good time to highlight the team's decisions and assign action items to those they pertain to.
9. Make Notes and Keep a Meeting Transcript
While you should encourage each participant to bring a pen and notepad to take their own notes, you also want them to focus on active listening.
For some, notetaking and simultaneous active listening can be challenging.
Having one person as a designated notetaker can curb this problem and help to create a rundown of the full meeting. Or, you can even use a note-taking tool for this.
The notetaker can organize their notes after the meeting to make them clear, concise, and deliverable to each participant. Or, they can transform them into a presentation or email them as a saveable and printable PDF.
10. Record Your Meeting for Those Not in Attendance
If some participants cannot attend the meeting, they could benefit from having a recording.
Recording a meeting can be beneficial even for those who can make it, as they can look back on critical details they may want to review.
Many video meeting tools allow recording up to a specific time limit.
If you aren't conducting a remote meeting, use a cell phone to record. Set the phone so that it records the speaker and presentation. You may need to move the phone throughout the meeting to ensure that it picks up the best audio and video.
11. Use a Meeting Management Tool
A meeting management tool is a type of software that helps teams organize, plan, and conduct meetings.
These comprehensive tools organize the meeting from start to finish by sending out invites, managing tasks discussed during the meeting, and recording meeting minutes via audio or text.
These tools usually have a free base package to try them out, but opting for a paid package often provides necessary features, like meeting templates and integrations with other tools and software.
12. Allow for Questions
A follow-up question can give your participants more clarity over discussed issues.
Allow time at the end of the meeting for questions. In fact, add a block of time on the meeting agenda to budget it within your overall meeting time.
Also, try to give each participant the chance to ask at least one question for a fair mix of all voices.
13. Keep Your Meetings Short and Succinct
According to Microsoft 2020 data , the number of the organization's meetings running 30 minutes or less increased by 22%, while meetings an hour or longer declined by 11%.
Based on feedback from its teams, Microsoft found that tight schedules led people to be more careful about scheduling meetings and taking away important work time.
For ultimate productivity from your team, keep meetings as short as possible. Use agenda items to guide the meeting and budget time, and stick to your meeting objective.
14. Learn from Any Feedback You Are Given
After the meeting ends, ask participants for feedback. You can do this using comment cards or inviting them to send an email or take a survey.
Be sure to ask attendees what they feel could have been improved to encourage constructive criticism.
Then, carefully consider any negative or positive feedback about the meeting. This feedback can guide future meetings, ensuring that each one is as productive as possible.
Image Source: MarketSplash
The past couple of years has evolved business meeting culture.
While many workers went remote for at least part of the pandemic, meetings also went largely virtual. For several companies, meetings also became more frequent, leading some workers to experience reduced productivity and burnout.
In some cases, meetings may not be necessary. Decide first whether a problem is something you can tackle without a meeting.
According to Fortune, improving internal communication, using data to track productivity, and focusing on employee well-being could be more beneficial than meetings .
Businesses can benefit from effective meeting management to keep sessions organized, on track, and fruitful.