I am sharing these tips and strategies to improve meetings since I believe that life is too short to be stuck in unproductive meetings !
Find more tips at my LinkedIn Profile - Richard Davies
1. First, ask yourself "why do I need to hold this meeting"? Is there an alternative? A quick phone call? A request for information via e-mail?
2. Define your goals for the meeting and make them SMART
Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time bound
3. Prepare a timed agenda for the meeting and invite other to contribute. Make sure you give careful consideration to the sequence of agenda topics to ensure a logical flow. This will increase productivity and enable some points to build upon earlier topics.
4. Don't overcrowd the agenda. If you find that you are having to "salami slice"the time into sections of less than 15 mins. Then take stock and prioritise. If you fall behind at the start of the meeting, you are very unlikely to catch up. This will create a sense of unease with some attendees who will feel that the whole meeting is out of control. If this happens, people can switch off !
5. Pre-align. If you anticipate a lot of opposition or ambivalence to your meeting. Consider your participants. It may take time, but it's better to sound out these individuals ahead of the main meeting and understand their point of view. You might be able to accommodate their concerns and avoid the meeting being rendered null & void be having to suspend the agenda to address some key players' concerns.
6. Housekeeping. Make sure that you book a suitable meeting room / venue. There's nothing worse than arriving to find that you are about to spend a day in a room without windows. I've suffered this fate many times. Also, if you need people to "dial in" for sections of the meeting, you must make sure in advance that the right equipment is available. The speakerphone on a standard phone is not going to work ! Oh, yes make sure that coffee and lunch is booked for the right times - if you're holding a full day meeting!
7.Pre-read. To avoid wasting time simply "sharing information" at a face-to-face meeting, send background materials at least 5 working days before the meeting. Try not to overload people and always state the objective for each piece of pre-read material. Make it clear if it's just "for info" or if the materials are building up for a "decision" that needs to be made at the meeting. Good pre-read can increase productivity of your meeting.
8. Allocate roles. Decide if you are going to be the facilitator. Allocate responsibility for timekeeping, taking actions. If the group tends to be very polite and avoids confrontation, then appoint somebody to be devils advocate. Give somebody licence to ask the difficult questions and disagree. You need to rotate this role so that somebody does not become labelled as a trouble maker!
Find out more at productivity-booster.com