Top tips for effective meetings from start to finish

Author: Cronofy

11th July 2014

Meetings are an intrinsic part of most jobs. For better or worse we seem to be called to the meeting room for one reason or another at frequent intervals over the course of a year. Sometimes these sessions are productive, efficient, hassle-free and even enjoyable. But at worst they are tiring, boring, difficult to follow, unproductive and, to put it bluntly, a complete waste of time.

How, then, can you focus on the former, and avoid the latter? The trick is to consider each of the three stages to a meeting and plan, and react, accordingly. Here are our top tips for effective meetings.

Before your meeting

How you prepare ahead of time sets the foundation for your meeting. Effective meetings begin with effective plans, so take the agenda and invitations seriously. Ensure that you only invite participants who genuinely need to be there and be as clear as possible about the aims of the session. Give them all the information they need ahead of time and encourage them to do their homework and prepare as necessary for the meeting.

Don’t forget to confirm your booking for the meeting room and bring a new packet of biscuits!

And, of course, it goes without saying that you must consider honestly whether you really need a meeting in the first place. It might be that there is an alternative way to accomplish the goals you have set out.

During your meeting

Time spent in meetings should be productive for everyone involved – no one should feel as though they would get more accomplished if they were back at their desk, or that their presence was unwarranted. Effective meeting facilitation ensures that everyone feels a useful and needed part of the process, so the leader should set a positive and productive tone that encourages interaction and problem-solving.

With a clear agenda and goals the role of the facilitator or chair becomes much more straightforward, so you should not have any difficulty keeping the meeting on track if you have sent out the information required ahead of time and made it clear to each participant what they are expected to bring to the session.

Ensure that each participant is involved and allowed to raise queries or put their point forward. When actions are decided be clear on who is expected to do what, and by when. No one should leave the meeting unclear about what happened or what is the next step.

After your meeting

Send the minutes to each participant as soon as possible after the meeting, highlighting the key bits of information or action points. Where necessary, schedule a follow-up session, and be clear on deadlines for achieving the goals of the meeting.

What are your top meeting tips? Tweet us @cronofy with your best advice.

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Date: 11th July 2014 | Category: Productivity