Meetings can be time suckers, and if nothing gets accomplished during them, frustration may ensue. Not only does a company waste valuable time and money conducting business meetings that don't produce results but employees will begin to loathe attending these functions.
Here are 10 suggestions on how to get the most out of your business gatherings.
1. Know what you want to accomplish. It is important to know why you are scheduling a business meeting. Write down a list of goals you want accomplished before your meeting and then present this to the attending members. Do not leave the meeting until you get the answers you’re looking for.
2. Develop a plan. Once you decide what you need to accomplish, you need to create a plan on how you will communicate your goals to employees. Avoid using complicated or "jargony" words when trying to explain new ideas and be willing to answer any questions that are asked by members of the group. If someone doesn't understand what you are saying, don't lose patience. Instead try to rephrase your communication, so everyone is on board.
3. Write a one-page summary of your meeting. Before the meeting begins, create a one-page summary of the major points that you want to cover during your meeting. This lets your employees know what to expect, which will result in them having a better understanding of what to expect in the meeting. Also, this will help reduce any anxieties or fears among your workers and prevent any rumors from spreading before the meeting begins.
4. Make sure you stay on topic. When there is a lot of people in a meeting it can be difficult to stay on topic so prepare accordingly. If you find that the meeting isn’t going anywhere or someone is off on a tangent, then politely circle back to the important topic that needs to be addressed.
5. Ask the right questions. Always ask the right questions when talking to your employees and colleagues. To prepare, write a list of questions that relates to your current business concerns. If you ask a question and someone beats around the bush, make sure you ask for clarification or push to get an answer that resolves your issues.
6. Encourage participation. Do not let a few people take control of your meetings. Instead, create a friendly atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable expressing their opinions.
7. Determine a timeline. Make sure you have specific deadlines of when you would like your objectives to get accomplished – otherwise, not everyone may be on the same page.
8. Don’t leave the meeting right away. Don’t just finish your presentation and then leave. Chances are some topics may need to be further explained or someone will not fully understand the presentation. Again, be patient and ensure that everyone understands your business goals.
9. Learn from your mistakes. Learn how to improve your company’s business meetings by reviewing past presentations. Focusing on what you did wrong the last time can go a long way in having productive meetings in the future. Another idea is to ask for feedback from the people that attended the meeting and follow through on their suggestions.
10. Change things up. Add some variety to your meetings and do not do the same thing all of the time. This will prevent your employees from getting bored and may also encourage participation. Be flexible when taking suggestions on improving your business meetings.