How would your team describe meetings in your organization? Inspiring? Fun? Productive? But what would the honest answer often be? Boring? Repetitive? Inefficient?
Meetings are a necessary evil in any organization. Not enough of them, and teamwork goes down the drain. Too many of them…people tune out and become unengaged.
So, how do we make meetings effective, productive, and interactive for all? I recently read an article on fastcompany.com that had some great tips.
1. Establish an agenda with objectives. Everyone attending the meeting should know exactly what is going to be discussed and what they will be expected to share. There is nothing worse than walking into a meeting when you have no idea what it is about or if you’ll be expected to present any information. Allow meeting attendees to prepare, which will result in a productive, efficient meeting.
2. Allow for Independent Brainstorming. If you’re looking for new ideas, provide the brainstorming questions ahead of time. Ask the meeting attendees to come prepared to discuss their ideas and give each person floor time. Otherwise, you risk only the most confident, outspoken team members speaking up and presenting their ideas.
3. Utilize Round Robins. Again, this allows everyone to speak up. Give team members the option to pass, but it allows those that tend to stay quiet during meetings or are often spoken over to share their thoughts in a safe environment.
4. Offer Blind Voting. Blind voting is a great way to gather opinions without those lacking seniority succumbing to peer pressure of those around them. Some examples would include using anonymous polls or google forms. Otherwise, it’s often the most senior team members or the loudest who get their voices heard and others follow along.
5. Set Next Steps. Before ending the meeting, always recap what was decided and what the next steps are. Make sure that everyone knows what is expected of them and by when.
ASE has utilized many of these methods to improve our meetings. We often review our recurring meetings to identify where there is overlap and have been able to reduce the amount of meetings we have by doing so. We also produced a meeting agenda template that we utilize for all meetings. Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of the template.
How do you ensure productive meetings? Email me at email@example.com.