Meetings are an unavoidable part of the professional world and college life. Most of the time meetings can be somewhat productive, others drag on with uninspired talk and few conclusions reached.
The key to having more productive meetings lies in careful planning and some guidelines. This can make or break your meeting.
- Ban all electronic devices from note taking. Apart from the person keeping minutes, no one should have a screen to hide behind. All too often I see someone in a meeting with his or her phone hidden under the desk checking some e-mail or Instagram post that just couldn’t wait. Warn the group to keep their phones away and provide pen and paper when needed. The less distractions the better the productivity of the meeting.
- Plan the meeting with actionable steps in mind. All too often people leave meeting thinking they just wasted an hour of their life or thinking that they could of just handled this group project over e-mail which leads to miscommunication and missed deadlines. Ensure that everyone in the meeting has something to do as a result of the meeting and recount what was done at the end of the meeting.
- Keep an eye on the clock. Keep track of how much time is spent on one subject at a time. Having time constraints creates a sense of urgency and purpose to the meeting. Keep moving. Start on time and end on time.
- Have a solid to-do list and make it visible for all in the room. Keep the agenda short and if you can’t come up with any solid decisions that need to be made, cancel the meeting.
- Reoccurring meetings should be short and highly structured to avoid the “business as usual” atmosphere. No meeting should be exactly the same.
- Write up the minutes of the meetings and e-mail out action items. Appoint someone to keep track of who’s responsible for doing what and by when. This helps people understand that the end of the meeting signals the start of taking action.
These tips are great for a traditional boardroom meeting. If you’re feeling bold, hold a walking meeting to a park or an open and quiet space. This can be a good way to bring energy to an important discussion.
All and all, keep organized and always have purpose to any meeting you attend or host.
This guest blog post was written by PRowl Staff Member Nathan Wilson