5 Tips For A More Productive Meeting
Work meetings can be a time-consuming chore, which often doesn’t seem to accomplish very much. However, when approached and planned well, a good meeting can be productive and help to build morale and team spirit.
Plan the meeting agenda in advance
A meeting with no clear purpose is a waste of everyone’s time. Don’t hold one for the sake of gathering your team together, unless there are genuine issues which you need to discuss. Prepare the agenda well in advance, and send it out to all the attendees via email at least a week before hand.
Ask the attendees to prepare their own ideas and contributions to the meeting, as this will make everyone focus their thoughts, and save the meeting leader from doing all the work. If you are rolling out new information about working practices, a hand-on training session might be a better idea.
Try and keep the numbers down
In larger groups, certain personality types tend to take over, while others remain silent observers, and the range of ideas becomes less diverse. This effect is lessened when there are fewer people in the meeting room, ideally seven people or fewer. Obviously you will need key people in the room, such as decision makers and managers.
If you can’t avoid inviting larger numbers to the meeting, plan some sections where the attendees can work in smaller groups, to give everyone a chance to make their voice heard.
Arrange breaks and refreshments
If your meeting is going on for more than an hour, you will need to arrange a break for refreshments. Let everyone know the timetable at the beginning of the meeting, so people don’t start getting restless and reaching for their own snacks or requesting a toilet break.
If you are arranging the catering, avoid rich heavy foods laden with sugar and fat. Go for lighter healthy options, which will help everyone to feel energised and focused throughout the rest of the session.
Allow plenty of time for the break, so that colleagues can socialise informally. This is good for team morale, and at best, can lead to some creative discussions about work which didn’t have a chance to evolve in the meeting.
Consider a new venue
If you are having a meeting involving staff from different regional offices, maybe for an annual company-wide review or to launch or a new product or service, it might be best to book a venue that is central to everyone, rather than oblige staff to travel to the head office.
A neutral venue will help to put everyone on a level playing field, and will mean that everyone is free from being interrupted by other staff members. A facility with purpose-built meeting rooms, such as a conference venue in Milton Keynes for example, will provide the space and facilities that you need.
Provide the main take-away points from the meeting
Make sure someone is taking notes during the meeting, and ask them to wrap up the main take-aways at the end. This will keep the points discussed fresh in everyone’s mind. Follow up with an email the next day to consolidate the outcome of the meeting.