*Guest Article: By Abstract Ops*
Every organisation, whether small or big, has to organise meetings to achieve a particular goal. Sometimes the purpose of the meeting is to reiterate the culture and values of the company, and other times it is to discuss solutions to a particular problem.
As a business owner, knowing how to make your meetings effective is vital. Effective meetings drive business growth and create an opportunity to get every employee involved in the company’s affairs.
Meetings should be interactive if you want them to be effective.
Some tested and trusted tips for making meetings more effective include:
Create an agenda for the meeting
Start by creating an agenda for the meeting – a detailed rundown of how the session will be structured. A plan gives organisation to the discussion and helps everyone who will partake or play a role know what to expect during their time there.
The agenda of a meeting always varies based on the meeting you’re having. If it is an informal meeting like an employee get-together, you may not need a tight schedule.
However, for more formal meetings like one that seeks to address a problem, you need a detailed agenda for meetings with every item stated and a specific time allotted to it.
State what the meeting seeks to achieve
Another way to have effective meetings in the business or corporate world is to state the purpose the meeting seeks to achieve.
For example, if you are organising a meeting to discuss solutions to growth and productivity, send a memo to the employees. The same applies when you’re putting together a meeting to address issues around employee relationships in the business.
Knowing the goal a meeting seeks to achieve helps everyone to come prepared. If it has to do with business productivity, attendees can take out time to think and read about the topic.
When the goal of a meeting is communicated, everyone can get engaged in discussions that help achieve that goal.
Allow everyone to speak
In every meeting, it is best to allow everyone to speak. You may not see this happen in some meetings because of the number of people in attendance. Instead of having to prevent some people from speaking in meetings, it is better to cut down the number of attendees so that everyone has an opportunity to participate.
It is best to have fewer people in attendance as it makes it easy and faster to communicate and conclude such meetings.
Another great way to ensure everyone speaks in a meeting is by breaking the meeting into parts. Instead of having a full-house meeting, you can separate people into groups to discuss specific issues. Then, a representative of every group can come and discuss in the general meetings.
Keep your meetings short and focus more on solutions than the problems.
Don’t take too much time
Time management is a significant factor to consider when planning effective meetings. The longer people stay in a meeting, the higher the chances of losing interest in what is discussed. Make it is part of the company’s culture to dedicate a defined time for specific meetings and keep it short.
For example, some companies have annual meetings where vital issues around the business are discussed. In this type of meeting, employees come prepared because they are already used to it.
However, you should not be having such long meetings regularly. To do this, you must avoid accumulating discussions. If a problem needs to be addressed, a meeting should be called to address such a problem immediately, subject to the overriding convenience of everyone.
Shorter meetings have proven to be more engaging and productive than longer ones.
Focus more on the solutions than the problem
There is only so much you can make out of a meeting that talks about the problem alone. If all you do during your meetings is try to discuss and analyse issues alone, that doesn’t qualify as an effective meeting.
The best meetings take little time to discuss and try to understand what the particular problem is and then provide the best workable solutions to it.
Effective meetings should be more solution-driven than problem-defined. Employees of a business or company should always be trained to proffer solutions. Problems are bound to arise in business, and the best way to see through such issues is to have a mind rich with solutions.
Be open to multiple solutions
Effective meetings don’t provide one solution alone; they provide multiple solutions. Your solution or one person’s solution may not always be the best. This is why allowing everyone to speak during meetings is very vital.
The more people that get an opportunity to speak, the more solutions you can get to a particular problem. When you’re open to multiple solutions, it becomes easy to pick the best for a particular situation.
Leverage the availability of technology
Technology has made the business world a lot easier now than it used to be. With the advent of technology, you don’t have to gather people in a physical location to hold a meeting any longer. Several videoconferencing and voice applications exist that can be used to facilitate meetings.
As a business with remote employees, it might be difficult to get them to a meeting, especially when they stay in a different city or location. With technology, you can get everyone involved in business meetings, take multiple ideas, and document the outcomes of meetings.
Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, Instagram Live, and Clubhouse are examples of software and applications that can be used to facilitate virtual meetings. With this, everyone can attend regardless of where they are and give their inputs.
More is needed than organisation to have effective meetings. Going through what we have discussed here, you need to have a meeting agenda, set a goal, allow everyone to speak, and keep it short. You also have to focus more on the solutions to the problems than the problem itself.
Finally, you have to find the best possible ways to make these meetings more encompassing, and that is where leveraging technology comes to play.
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