5 Strategies for Running Effective Meetings
Love ‘em or hate ‘em—and let’s be honest, it’s usually the latter—meetings are a necessary component of many workflows, so you might as well try to make the best of them. In most scenarios, this means facilitating successful meetings that are effective and efficient: meetings that people won’t come out of wondering why they wasted their time, but instead feel empowered to take next steps.
Here are five strategies for running effective and efficient meetings in your workplace.
1.) Set a meeting agenda. People like to know what they’re getting themselves into when they enter a meeting. An effective meeting agenda provides a sense of purpose, and acts as a guide to steer participants along the right track. Longer meetings should have a pre-made outline to follow, whereas shorter meetings can have something as simple as a one- to two-sentence description to summarize what will be discussed.
2.) Respect people’s time. Set the start and end time for the meeting and stick to it. Some experts agree that 15 minutes is the ideal meeting length, primarily because of the way the brain works. Research has shown that people retain more information in shorter periods of time. If you need more than 15 minutes for your meeting, that’s perfectly okay. Just be sure to start and end promptly so that no one feels like their time is being wasted.
3.) Close all laptops and phones. In today’s busy digital world, multi-tasking has become the norm. While this can increase productivity in some areas, it is often a detriment to running effective meetings. A successful meeting is one where all participants are focused on the defined purpose, and the fact of the matter is that this is easiest to achieve without any distractions.
4.) Stand up during the meeting. Nobody wants to stand around for longer than they need to. The idea behind the stand-up meeting—a popular part of the agile development methodology—is that the discomfort of standing for unnecessary lengths of time encourages participants to keep meetings short. Here at AirTank, we have a daily stand-up meeting each morning, where we come together to update each other on what we’re working on and identify any productivity blockers.
5.) End with action items. Knowing how to end a meeting is key. You don’t want a meeting meandering on endlessly—or, even worse, for participants to come out of it with no clear idea of next steps. Effective meetings end with action items, so set aside a few minutes at the end of each meeting to assign tasks and make sure everyone is on the same page about responsibilities and deadlines.
What have you done to facilitate effective meetings in your workplace? We would love to hear about it! Give us a shout over on Twitter at @AirTankNH and we’ll retweet our favorite suggestions!
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