People always complain that lots of the meetings they attend are defective in some way. People arrive at no conclusions. Indecision is the only decision. Disagreements aren’t resolved. Other individuals waffle on. Note that it’s always “others” who waffle. The meetings drag on. They don’t get a fair hearing and so on.
These ideas below may help ease the worst meeting overruns.
1. Stay Punctual.
Start on time, regardless of how many of the people are present. If that means latecomers miss out on something, they wanted to say, so be it. Over time they’ll learn to be punctual.
2. Finish On Time.
Set an end time and stick to it. If you have unfinished business when the allotted time lapses, schedule another meeting. It’s irrational to expect busy people to sit in apparently endless meetings when they’ve already interrupted everyday work to attend.
3. Restrict participation.
Invite contributors only. No one should be asked to join a meeting “for experience” or “as a presence.” If people have nothing to offer or aren’t likely to be affected by what’s discussed at the meeting, there’s usually no need for them to be at the conference.
4. Clear Objectives.
Specify the goal of the meeting and stick to it. Stop participants from introducing other issues unless they are likely to impact the meeting purpose significantly. Have a topic and a goal and stick with them.
5. Complete Participation.
Encourage full participation at all times. Try to ensure that everyone feels that they’ve had the chance to “have their say.” Some members may want to out talk or talk down others. Stop this sort of thing the moment it begins.
6. Encourage Small Meetings.
When only a few participants are qualified to speak on a distinct aspect or issue, encourage them to meet individually and report back to the entire group. This also ensures that your meeting isn’t bogged down in explaining technical matters where few participants have the expertise to participate fully.
7. Record Decisions.
Make notes of any decisions or conclusions reached. Record to whom obligations are allotted with deadlines. Circulate this information to attendees after the meeting. If another appointment is necessary, catalog it before people leave. If you need another meeting, it’s best to arrange it while everyone’s together.
Meetings can be tedious, boring, and even unpleasant. They can also be useful, purposeful, efficient, and enjoyable. Every business meeting should enhance and improve business success and progress. If that’s not the case in your firm, try these tips.