The average employee attends 7 – 10 meetings every week. If you look at this at a country level, Amercians are holding over 3 billion meetings per year. Sounds a lot, doesn’t it? Meetings can be either very productive or a waste of everyone's time. If nothing gets accomplished during a meeting, your company has wasted valuable time, meeting room space, resources and a number of man hours depending on how many people attended.
To ensure this doesn't happen to you, here are our top 10 tips on how to hold a productive business meeting:
1. Decide if the meeting is needed at all
First of all, question the meeting’s intention. Why are you having one? and What does it aim to achieve? and finally, question whether these can be achieved by other means. For example, one to one conversation, memos, video conference calls and/or emails. If the answer is no, go ahead and set up the meeting.
Create an agenda and circulate it to all attendees at least 24 hours before the meeting. Every meeting agenda should have a concise summary of all the points that need to be covered, as well as clearly communicating the outcome of the meeting and what it should achieve. Rather than listing the agenda items as bullet points, try and write them as questions. This has a proven value to stimulate thinking and creativity.
3. Correct set up
Use your room booking system to set up the meeting in the area that is most suitable for the type of meeting that you are having. A room booking system will ensure all the assets are booked as you require (including room, catering, VC etc.) and meeting room screens will guard your meeting so that you are never disturbed.
4. Stand up
Here's a new idea: why don’t you hold your meeting with every attendee standing up? A research has shown that meetings go faster and people are more focused on topic if they are standing up rather than sitting.
5. Random times
Try starting meetings at random times. Traditionally meetings usually start on the hour, frequently resulting in people waiting for late arrivals. But if you start your meeting at a random time for example at 11:07am, there is more chance that people will be on time.
6. Honesty & openness
Remember, a good discussion requires attendees to be willing to share their honest thoughts and opinions. So try and encourage that during the meeting.
7. Finish Time
It is important to set a finish time for your meeting. Meetings can go on endlessly and conversations can go round in circles. It is important that every attendee is aware of the meeting’s finish time, as this will aid a more focussed discussions.
8. Key topics
Make sure you cover the key topics first. This way, if you run out of time, you ensure that the most important topics have been discussed.
9. 5-minute summary
Allow 5 minutes at the end of the meeting to summarize what has been discussed. This ensures that everybody is aware of their responsibilities.
10. Notes & Minutes
Keep notes of the meeting and make sure you circulate them within 24 hours of the meeting. The minutes prepared after the meeting will ensure that everybody is clear about agreed meeting points, action points and outcomes.