Meetings are a necessary evil. They are time consuming, resource intensive and can often be inefficient if attendees are not prepared. Here are some top tips to help you to make the most of your meetings.
Create an agenda
Agree an agenda for each meeting and circulate it before the meeting. This sets the tone for your meeting and avoids situations where people get side tracked.
Timing is important. If people don’t show up on time, start without them. They will learn by experience and they won’t be late for the next meeting. Equally, stick to your timeline: if you say a meeting will be over by 4pm then make sure it is over on time, as your colleagues will have other things that they need to attend to during their working day.
Set a good example by being prepared for meetings. You will come across as professional, and others will tend to follow your example. Being prepared for meetings will also help you to win the respect of your colleagues, because they may view people who turn up to meetings unprepared as time wasters.
No Blackberries or mobile phones
At the start of each meeting ask everyone to switch their phones to silent and not to check emails during the meeting. If you make a point of saying this, they will most likely not be distracted by their phones and will contribute more to the meeting as a result.
If you are chairing a meeting, aim to facilitate conversation between colleagues. Do not allow a small minority to dominate the meeting. Knowledgeable people often fail to contribute to a meeting as they are overwhelmed by more talkative colleagues.