Business meetings are super important for communicating information, problem-solving, decision making and team brainstorming but can sometimes be a waste of precious time if not managed effectively. We’ve put together some of the helpful tips we’ve learned over the years to make team gatherings more productive and efficient.
Writing a clear agenda a few days in advance will firstly prove whether or not the meeting is actually necessary. Could the points on your agenda be solved much more conveniently over the phone or email? This might just save you time before you even begin… Secondly, having a concise agenda to guide the flow of discussion will ensure that the most important topics are covered as a priority and nothing is missed off. Circulating the agenda to all attendees ahead of the meeting will mean that everyone is fully prepared and knows exactly what is expected.
When hosting or attending a meeting, your full attention is needed for the entire duration. Showing up hungry can sometimes hinder your concentration – when we feel hungry we’re either daydreaming about food or worrying about our stomach rumbling for everyone to hear and neither of those is good for productivity… If your meeting is timed at an awkward part of the day, make sure you grab a snack en route. We’re lucky to have lots of healthy snack options here in Moorgate, our personal favourites are Protein Haus, in Moorgate Station and POD which is opposite our front door.
If you’re invited to a meeting, it’s generally because your presence and input is needed. There’s always a temptation to respond to emails or dip in and out of another task if you’re sat with your laptop in front of you. Good old-fashioned pen to paper note taking will eliminate this risk and allow you to be fully engaged in the conversation.
This sounds like an obvious one but setting cleat start and end times will make sure attendees arrive promptly, stick to the agenda and get to the point knowing that there is a set end time, and everything must be covered by then. Meetings can often take a significant chunk out of the working day but knowing exactly when you’ll be in and out will help keep disruptions to the rest of your day at a minimum.
We’ve all had to watch and wait for somebody to set up their presentation, or experienced awkward technical difficulties ourselves while everybody stares. Nobody likes being held up 10 minutes at the start of a meeting because of IT problems, it makes a dent in the agenda and affects the allocated time. For no other reason than to be courteous, if you are hosting the meeting it’s important to arrive at least ten minutes early and resolve any hold-ups before your attendees arrive.
It’s impossible to remember everything that was said without taking any notes, fact. Accurate, well-written notes will help to resolve queries and misunderstandings and avoid having to go over the same topics at a later date. Your notes should focus on outcomes, actions and deadlines – the three key takeaways from a conversation to ensure you know exactly what is expected. Circulating minutes at the end of a meeting will confirm that everyone is on the same page and allow an action plan to be put in place.
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