Operations: 4 Tips for Hosting Effective Meetings

effective meetings

Meetings can be a huge time-suck. In fact, they can be a top killer of productivity, often drawing employees away from important tasks for extended periods of time.

Of course, sometimes meetings are necessary and important. But how can you make sure they’re productive? That you’re not taking up too much of your staff’s valuable time? Here are some guidelines for hosting effective meetings.

Ensure Every Meeting Has a Clear Purpose

There’s nothing worse than entering a meeting that no one knows the purpose of. Each meeting should have a clearly defined purpose and set schedule.

Appoint a person (preferably a manager or director) to lead the meeting and keep everyone on task. If the discussion starts to derail, they can bring the focus back to the meeting’s original intent.

With this in mind, set a firm start and end date. Your employees are busy, and the more time spent on meetings, the less time they’ll have for their normal day-to-day tasks. If further discussion is needed beyond the end time, it can be picked up during the next meeting or one-on-one between the individuals involved.

In addition, be sure your staff come to meetings prepared — they should know the purpose of the meeting beforehand, so that they can think about what to contribute. Putting people on the spot won’t produce the best results.

Cartoon courtesy of Dilbert.

Create Action Items/Assignments

Let’s say you have a productive and effective meeting that resulted in a number of great ideas your club and staff should try. That’s great. But if no action items are assigned, you just wasted your staff’s time, as nothing will result from these ideas.

With this in mind, be sure to give specific tasks/assignments to individual employees that you can follow up on, to ensure the ideas are executed upon.

Be Mindful of Who Needs to Be Involved

A lot of times, group meetings are held with dozens of staff, when only two or three employees really needed to be there. Before you set up a meeting and invite your whole team, think about who really needs to be involved. Otherwise, you’re wasting a large portion of your staff’s time.

Instead, keep most meetings small, and consider sending out an email recap to those not there of important items that were discussed (only if necessary).

Ban Cell Phones/Computers

The purpose of meetings is to be extremely focused on a specific issue or idea. If your staff are distracted by emails or texts, the chances of the meeting being productive are slim to none. Instate a rule that bans cell phones/computers, and that requires staff to take notes with pen/paper.

Cartoon courtesy of Dilbert.

How do you execute effective meetings? Share your tips in the comments.

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