Close up portrait of working process at business meeting

How To Run An Efficient & Effective Meeting

Why is it sometimes meetings can feel counterproductive to what they are trying to achieve?

Meeting are supposed to be a collaborative time where everyone involved can bring ideas to the table to achieve a shared goal.

So why do people often leave meeting feeling that they have wasted their time?

The issues vary and they can occur quite naturally without any blame attributed to anyone, but there are ways to avoid your meetings becoming unproductive.

With his 20 plus years in business and as an entrepreneur, Trevor McClintock has chaired his fair share of meetings, in this blog he talks us through his top techniques for getting the most out of your meetings.

Obtain a written agenda (and stick to it!)

One of the most vital things to run an efficient and effective meeting is having a written agenda available to everyone in advance, this allows people to properly prepare for the meeting.

The next step for the agenda is being able to stick to it.

As easy as this sounds it’s one of the most difficult things to achieve.

Although a written agenda is key to allowing participants to prepare for the meeting, it also allows them to think about points that they want to raise.

This is a good and a bad thing – it allows people to voice their opinions, but it also can sprout tangents that can take up valuable meeting time.

A proven method for sticking to the agenda is having a timeline and a moderator or host.

If you have a set amount of time and a moderator to enforce the timings, you will avoid going off topic.

Review your attendee list

Although you may think that the more people in a meeting the more contributors you have and the faster you can reach a goal, it’s often not the case.

To run a lean, efficient meeting some serious thought needs to be given to exactly who needs to be there.

If you invite people who aren’t directly affected by the desired outcome of the meeting you’re only achieving two things:

  • You’re taking people away from tasks for a meeting that isn’t directly relevant to them.
  • You’re inviting people to a meeting that doesn’t involve them, meaning they are less engaged.

Try to keep your attendees to those that are absolutely necessary.

Employ the parking method

Despite your best efforts, sometimes meetings can take an unexpected turn and get on to subjects that aren’t on the agenda.

When this happens, there are things you can do to rectify the situation and get things back on track.

The parking method is a way of categorising valid points that are raised but are off topic.

When someone mentions something that is valid but off topic the meeting leader should announce that it is parked until another meeting agenda.

This method is best utilised with a meeting follow up, reassuring attendees that their valid, but off topic points have been noted and will be addressed separately.

The shorter the better

When holding a meeting, the shorter they are the better – stand up meetings for instance, where you don’t allow people to get comfy forces participation and engagement.

Obviously, all meetings cannot be held standing up, some meetings are just too long. If this is the case, try to keep up a steady rhythm and avoid dwelling on a point for too long.

Over to you

Whether you’d like help and tips chairing your meetings or find out how Trevor McClintock can help you achieve your business goals feel free to drop him a line on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or email.

Trevor McClintock

Trevor McClintock

Trevor McClintock is a world-leading business consultant and expert strategist with over 25 years' experience in developing and re-organising businesses. Contact him today and make your dreams a reality.

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