Meetings were invented for the sole reason of providing solutions to problems. Yet, through the course of time, it has deteriorated, lost its purpose and sometimes even resulted in problems because of its inefficiency. When you set a meeting or are invited to a meeting, your first thought should be the purpose of the meeting and you should make sure that the entire meeting is focussed on that and by the dispersal time, there is a proper closure and mutual agreement on the subject. So, how do we make this possible?
- Make the word processor work for you
Taking notes is a powerful practice for effective meetings which allows you to not just remember and track your thoughts but also lets you make clarity out of the unorganised thoughts in your head. You can use something as fancy as a tracking software to something as simple as a Post-it. These are the few things you need in your notes for a meeting:
Before the meeting, you have to be clear with the agenda, so write it down. During the course of the meeting, you should ensure that everyone sticks to it. If possible, an even time the items on the agenda.
Be prepared with all the queries and concerns you have and pop it up during the meeting. Your notes will ensure that you remember it. Strike them off once they are answered, or better still, write the solutions next to it.
Jot down your proposal, contribution or even faint ideas that you have prior to the meeting. This will ensure that you remember when it is your turn to contribute to the meeting, or when the other participants say something relevant to your ideas so you can build upon it.
Throughout the meeting, there are going to be important takeaways from brainstorming or discussions or debates and these shouldn’t be lost. You could either note these down or record the entire meeting so you could replay it at a later point.
Minutes of meeting
To ensure that everyone is on the same page, a succinct recapitulation of the meeting needs to be agreed upon and sent to all present. It is important to leave no room for ambiguity.
- Time Management
Always keep your meetings short, set a slightly shorter duration than is required so that everyone would feel the need to not go off topic. Arrive a few minutes before the meeting to have small talk with the other participants. Fix the first 3 minutes to go through the agenda and the last 3 minutes to summarise.
- Stand-up meetings and Informal meetings
When the meeting duration is less and there are very few things to discuss, it’s best to consider a stand-up meeting after considering its feasibility. People tend to be more active while standing up as they have a sense of urgency pushing them. They have their complete concentration and they contribute better. Sometimes, a meeting may not really be required. Maybe you just want to make a big announcement or get a few opinions. Always weigh the value of time of the participants with the gravity of the meeting and decide if it is better off to just discuss certain topics informally at their desks or have an e-mail chain for it.
- Be a moderator
Take time to notice who hasn’t contributed and prod them for inputs. Encourage any good idea brought to the table. Any irrelevant discussions need to be curtailed and the moderator must ensure this in a very courteous manner. This might seem like a very small thing to do, but the more personal you make a meeting, the better the participants feel connected to it.
It would be worth to consider asking for feedback about the meeting informally. Perhaps, people had opinions that they didn’t bring to the table because they weren’t confident about it. Perhaps they felt the meeting was irrelevant to them. Very small things could affect the efficiency of the meeting and the next time you call one, the participants might be reminded of the previous incidents and may not feel encouraged to attend or contribute.
Always remember that a meeting involves the talent, time and money of the participants and making the best out of it makes you a good leader. The type of decisions taken in the team meeting could take you to great heights or push you to the bottom