I’ve never heard anyone say, “I can’t wait to attend that meeting!” That’s because most people dread them. They are either too busy or there are just too many meetings on their calendars in the first place. While some meetings are worthwhile, others can be downright unproductive. Here are 8 do’s that will help ensure the success of any meeting:
#1: DO set a clear agenda and meeting objective
When there’s no detail on a meeting invite, attendees will arrive unprepared or may not attend at all. Adding a bulleted list outlining what will be discussed and what you’d like to accomplish by the end of the meeting will help set expectations and ensure that there are no surprises.
#2: DO provide information in advance if feedback is required during meeting
Ever been asked to review a document during a meeting and provide an immediate response? If you’ll be requesting feedback during the meeting, send out information well in advance to allow participants enough time to review and provide well-thought-out feedback. It also provides more time for Q&A.
#3: DO invite the right attendees for the meeting objective
There may be folks who are not part of the core team but have an interest in the success of a project or end goal. However, including all stakeholders in every meeting opens the door to running the project off the rails. Meetings should be specifically designed to meet attendees’ needs, whether they are the core team or interested stakeholders.
#4: DO start and end meetings on time
There will always be times when meetings start a bit late or run over. But when it happens consistently, it’s not only inconsiderate of everyone’s time, people will begin to show up late intentionally. This is a bad practice that can negatively affect meetings that truly do start and end on time.
#5: DO keep meetings on topic
A facilitator’s ability to control a meeting determines whether it stays on topic. Questions or conversations not related to the agenda should be tabled for another time. Not only is a disorganized meeting frustrating, it wastes everyone’s valuable time.
#6: DO come to the meeting prepared
I’ve arrived at meetings where the facilitator is still finalizing their presentation, struggling to set up a demo – or worse – asking everyone, “So, what are we talking about?” A good rule of thumb is to show up at least 10 to 15 minutes early to ensure that there is enough time for setup or last-minute prep.
#7: DO schedule recurring meetings with the appropriate frequency
Status meetings are absolutely necessary for team communication and collaboration. But it may not make sense to schedule daily meetings if teams are overloaded with projects or have no new updates to share. Choosing the appropriate frequency for recurring meetings is a key for successful meetings.
#8: DO document the meeting discussion, decisions or action items
Don’t assume that everyone will remember the details discussed during a meeting. Were action items assigned? Were there major decisions made? If so, by whom? All of these should be documented and shared with the team, even if it’s an email recap. Follow-up is also crucial.
While we all may dread the many meetings we’re asked to attend, taking care to respect everyone’s time by following these tips will help ensure meeting success. And, who knows? We may find that successful meetings really do add value to our workday.
by Veronica Thraen / July 9, 2018