Running Effective Meetings by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC
Meetings can be an important part of completing projects and meeting deadlines. However, meetings can also be a huge time waster. Most employees feel they attend too many meetings, and wish these could be cut to a minimum. If you’re in charge of running meetings in your organization, here are some tips to help ensure your meetings are effective and efficient.
1. Don’t have too many meetings. When discussion is needed, meetings are great. When status updates are needed, meetings can be a waste of time. Don’t convene a group just to get an update. Use email instead. Then, if you find that a meeting is warranted because a project is behind, or team members have questions, the meeting will be a good use of time.
2. Have an agenda. Agendas needn’t be long or formal. However, having a list of the topics that need to be discussed will help you to stay on track and make the best use of the meeting time.
3. Stay within a timeframe. If you gain a reputation for being one of those people whose meetings run long, you’ll find that people fail to show up for your meetings. Be a stickler about starting and ending on time. Don’t wait for the stragglers to show up to begin. When you do, you send the message that the time of the stragglers is more valuable than the time of the people who showed up on time. This is another sure way to ensure that people will continue to come to your meetings.
4. Only invite those employees that are pertinent to the meeting. Make sure they understand why they are being invited and what they will be expected to contribute.
5. Take a few minutes at the end of the meeting to send out a recap. Be sure to document any decisions that were made and to list action items for each member.
With these simple tips, you can fine tune your meeting strategies to ensure that people take your meetings seriously and find them to be productive. When you gain a reputation for being an effective meeting leader, you can rest assured that your meetings will not be time wasters.