MANDELA V. MANDELA [Nelson Mandela’s Greatest Mistake?]November 6, 2020
DIGITAL UPSKILLING: BRIDGING THE DIGITAL DIVIDENovember 11, 2020
Making meetings effective and productive is no easy feat. To be effective, meetings need to engage the various talents of the people involved, work to achieve the group’s specific goals for the moment and do so in a way that’s contextually sensitive.
In fact, Meetings are the most crucial periods of time we spend together.
Leaders worldwide fall back on simple blanket rules that no one really follows — like the leader who declared all meetings could last no more than 20 minutes.
Let’s focus on the components of a meeting, and how you can use a new structure to produce more effective and efficient meetings that get the job done in your firm. These seven simple steps make every meeting more productive:
- Set a clear and specific agenda and a timeframe –There is a saying that time is money and it is only decent to respect people’s time. Imagine having meetings without an agenda? It’s like scheduling a business trip without an itinerary!
Even for a meeting that you may just want a quick solution to a problem, set and agenda.
Agendas are simple to construct and distribute. The road map they provide not only prepares attendees for what will be covered, but agendas are a terrific way to keep the meeting on track.
The more specific, the better the road map, and the more likely you are to accomplish the stated objectives.
- Prepare necessary materials— A lot of work can go into preparing for a meeting, so prepare (or instruct others to prepare) only what is truly necessary to communicate effectively during the meeting.
Materials such as audio-visual content (PowerPoint slides), a pen, a piece of paper, even a recording device are all necessary to the success of the meeting.
- Distribute materials in advance– Send out materials well before the meeting — preferably, the day before — with a request people review them and come prepared to discuss the items listed.
You don’t want to waste everyone’s time by reading your summaries to them! You want to leverage that time for input.
- Moderate the discussion– If this is your meeting, it’s your job to “run” or moderate it. That means acting as a guide to keep everyone on course (topic-wise) and moving forward (productivity-wise) within the time allotted.
Think of it as a referee or facilitator role. You want to marshal these valuable resources (people and their ideas) toward an effective end. If you, as the leader, participate too much, you’ll run the risk of commandeering the meeting, which is not an effective use of team members’ time.
- Confirm decisions and action items – It’s the moderator’s responsibility to confirm, out loud with everyone in attendance, the decisions made, the action steps determined (if any), and the people assigned to those action items.
This can be reduced to a follow-up email and placed on a future agenda for updates. This is a huge point of failure for many meetings — the failure to articulate decisions, action items and attendant responsibilities. Ironically, it is generally the stated reason for meetings! Fix this hole by stating things clearly before everyone disperses. This is also referred to as the takeaways from the meeting.
- Identify follow-up expectations – The final point of any effective meeting is identifying and stating the next point of follow-up, if there is one. Place parameters around the work so people have relatively short-term goals for producing a result.
Make the follow-up period reasonable within the context of the work to be performed, but make it date-certain.