When and How to Meet (Hint: Not too Often)

No more meetings please

“Yes, let’s meet on everything- I love meetings” said no one ever. 

I’m sure everyone has experienced a meeting where they walk out wondering “what the heck were they talking about?”, or maybe worse, “that could have been an email”. Running effective meetings is integral to leading a successful team. Great leaders are not the best at everything, rather they know how to leverage the skill sets of others in order to be successful as a team. 

Conducting an effective meeting is the first step toward clear communication and utilizing team members’ skills. However, reaching a meeting’s intended goals can be challenging. Meetings must be well-run to justify the time and effort of attendees, recognizing that participants have different needs. It is the responsibility of the leader or organizer to communicate effectively and engage everyone in the room. To help you with this, here are our top 10 tips for making your meetings more successful.

Set Clear Objectives

Don’t leave the purpose of the meeting a mystery (unless it’s a surprise party!). When you notify your employees of a meeting, ensure that everyone understands its purpose in advance. Clear objectives keep the discussion focused and productive, and help several to be less anxious.

Not more meetings please

Create an Agenda

Running a meeting can be nerve racking and nothing is worse than the shock of not knowing where to start. To avoid this, prepare an agenda in advance. This will give you a step-by-step plan for covering the necessary material or discussion points. Distributing the agenda to participants ahead of time allows everyone to come prepared,  and helps keep the meeting on track.

Limit Attendees

Only invite those who are necessary for the meeting. Too many attendees can lead to inefficiency and added distractions. Why address 10 people when you only need to talk to 5? Don’t let an employee leave thinking “I didn’t need to be there”.

Assign Roles

Designate a facilitator to keep the meeting moving forward and a timekeeper to ensure discussions stay on schedule. Having roles keeps a meeting professional and ensures additional individuals are engaged as they keep track of the conference.

Start and End on Time

Your employees’ time is just as valuable as yours! Respect everyone’s time by starting and ending the meeting punctually. This helps set a precedent for future meetings and shows that you value participants’ time and appreciate their contribution.

Encourage Participation

Set a precedent by creating an environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing their ideas and opinions. Encourage employees to speak up, everyone is a valuable teammate. New ideas from different individuals fosters creativity and innovation!

Stay Focused

Although it can be fun at the beginning of the meeting to chat about your weekend, or share pictures of your new puppy, cut these discussions off when the meeting begins. Throughout the meeting, keep discussions relevant to the agenda topics. If new issues arise that were not scheduled for this meeting, table them for future discussions and maintain focus on the current agenda.

Use Technology Wisely

Utilize technology like video conferencing and collaboration tools effectively. Ensure that everyone has access to necessary documents and resources beforehand. Check out our previous article on using online communication effectively here!

Take Actionable Notes

Don’t let your team forget what they talked about. To maximize effectiveness and bolster memory of the attendees, assign someone to take notes during the meeting, highlighting action items, decisions made, and any follow-up tasks. Share these notes with all attendees after the meeting.

Follow Up

How do we turn discussion into action? After the meeting, send a summary email outlining the key points discussed, action items, and deadlines. This reinforces accountability and ensures everyone is aligned moving forward.

SO NOW WHAT?

Everyone is different, and knowing how you can best connect with your team members based on their needs and preferences. At SSL, we use the Enneagram type to helps leaders and their teams. Click HERE to see a chart on how each Enneagram type prefers to receive information.

Want to learn more? Click here to find out more about Sailor’s Sweet Life’s offerings or contact us

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(yes, even that person it feels impossible to see eye-to-eye with).