Think about it. How many productive meetings do you actually have?
Often poorly prepared, business meetings have developed a reputation for being ineffective and even a waste of time. However, when meetings are planned properly, they can be an undeniably powerful tool for communicating or solving business problems.
Try these six time-saving ideas to avoid haemorrhaging minutes at your next business meeting.
- Choose a more suitable time
Avoid first thing Monday and last thing Friday afternoons (for obvious reasons). Midweek day afternoons are generally best. In fact, YouCanBookMe (a UK based company that makes business scheduling apps) ran the numbers from 530,000 meeting invitations and found 2.30pm Tuesday is the time most people are free. For internal meetings, use your scheduling tool to line up a universally free slot.
- Prepare an agenda (and stick to it)
Ever been in a meeting where two people get sidelined for ten minutes discussing something that has nothing to do with the topic (or anyone else in the room)? A pre-distributed agenda will minimise situations where conversations go off-piste. If appropriate, appoint a confident chairperson who isn’t afraid to politely steer irrelevant discussions back to the agenda.
- Ensure key players will be in attendance
Pay attention to the apologies. If an important decision maker can’t make it, reschedule the meeting for another time.
- Keep to time
Be on time, start on time and do not wait for late comers. The worst thing that could happen is you do not get enough time to reach a resolution on the issues you are meeting to address.
- Keep people engaged with short, sharp communication
Thanks to technology, humans have shorter attention spans than ever. Converse to logic, the more time you spend explaining a concept the less your audience are likely to take in. Avoid text heavy PowerPoint presentations and get to the point quickly.
- Take minutes and notes
Record any action points or important conclusions that have been reached, and distribute the minutes within 24 hours of the meeting wrap-up.
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