How to Maximize Meetings

Feel that your meetings could be better? We've all been there. Someone's late, or dragging the meeting on longer than necessary, or doesn't even know why the meeting was called in the first place.

If you want to make sure that you're spending your time more effectively, Excel with Business have some tips to prepare you for smooth and productive meetings from Excel with Business (EwB) Communication, Influence and Teams course. If you're not doing all of these already, try them out!


Before the meeting

Productive meetings begin well before they kick off. The best way to save everyone's time is to only invite people who need to be there. It's also key to send a clear invite to:

1. Clarify the purpose of the meeting. Try to do this in one sentence. If you need two paragraphs, then either the purpose is not clear or you are having difficulties in expressing it.

2. Set the agenda. Focus on outcomes not tasks. For example, "We want sales up by 8% before April" rather than "Brian will illuminate us with his PowerPoint on expected sales". Also encourage people to comment on the agenda before the meeting.

3. Clarify location, attendees, start and end time.

During the meeting

1. Ensure effective leadership. Every meeting, no matter how small, must have a leader chairing it. Forget interpersonal and administrative conflicts and acknowledge that differences help find solutions.

2. Create an encouraging atmosphere. For example, allow a few minutes of friendly chatting before you get down to business.

3. Stick to your timings. Once people believe it is fine to come late, they will. Slack timing punishes the very people (the early, organized and well-prepared) you need to keep on your side. Also resist any temptation to overrun.

After the meeting

1. Follow up. A meeting dies if there is no follow up. Make sure someone takes responsibility. That someone, of course, could be you!

2. Avoid immediate sub-meetings. Those impromptu meetings people have in corridors can strengthen personal bonds but could also make other people feel excluded. Be mindful.

This post is an extract from EwB Communication, Influence and Teams course written by Andreas Loizou. If you found this useful and have access to EwB you take a look at the course here. If you are new to EwB you can sign up here. Make sure you check out the Groupon for EwB discounts.


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