“Office workers spend an average of 4 hours per week in meetings. They feel more than half of that time is wasted.” – A Survey by Opinion Matters for Epson and supported by the Centre for Economics & Business Research, May 2012
I agree with the findings of this research. I’m in meetings almost every day and most of them are not that productive. Meetings, however, are virtually unavoidable at a leadership level. Every leader should know how to conduct an effective, productive meeting. Below are a few tips…
- Have a plan. Stick to the plan. Prepare a meeting agenda in advance that outlines the topics that are to be covered and the objectives that are to be accomplished. Distribute copies to everyone at the meeting. If the topic starts to deviate from the agenda, take charge and bring it back. Also, don’t try to do too much in one meeting. Make sure your plan is focused to accomplish a goal and not all over the place. [Here’s a good meeting agenda template.]
- Run the meeting. Don’t let the meeting run you. I’ve been in meetings where the person “in charge” just let the conversation wander in circles. Don’t be afraid to speak up and keep your team focused. (Tip #1 can help you do this.) Also, don’t let the “loudest” person on your team get all the attention. If you have a shy person on your team, encourage them to share their opinions by asking them directly.
- Give assignments. I’ve also been in meetings where great ideas were thought of, but the idea died because it was not delegated to someone for follow up. As ideas, suggestions, or questions arise in meetings, delegate tasks (with a deadline!) to members of your team.
- Respect people’s time. Set a timeframe for the meeting and stick to it. Also, remember that not everyone needs to be at every meeting. Figure out who you need at each meeting. Don’t waste people’s time.
For more information on running effective meetings, check out this infographic.