Most people in the professional world know the boredom and time-wasting that can commence at the team meeting. Whether it’s a long winded boss rambling aimlessly on about irrelevant topics or the meeting that uselessly takes up half the work day, the complaints about meetings are largely founded and understandable.
That’s why it’s important that you, as a manager, create an environment for meetings where everyone feels their time is being spent well. Creating better meetings could mean a world of difference for how your employees engage during meetings, collaborate during projects and how they contribute to discussions in the future.
To help you with your meetings this year, we’ve compiled a list of easy ways to improve their content and how you run them.
Only invite employees to whom the meeting is relevant
Sending an office-wide invite to a meeting that only deals with one aspect of the company inevitably means that a portion of the attendees will be bored. Of course, any manager can justify requiring office-wide attendance by saying that everyone needs to be informed about everything going on in the company. However, if you were being honest with yourself, you would see that line of thinking simply isn’t accurate.
Certain employees’ time would be much better spent working on actual projects that pertain to their jobs, not warming the seats in a crowded meeting regarding projects or clients that they’ll never work on or interact with. Use your best judgment when it comes to selecting meeting invitees. Invite the employees who will find the meeting’s content useful, not those who will sit in boredom for an hour.
Keep it organized
Allowing yourself to trail off on unrelated tangents, even just once during the meeting, will lower the meeting’s overall effectiveness. Stay on track with your topic. If you have trouble staying focused, creating a list of bullet-points and topics that you know you need to cover through the meeting, and glance back at it when you get the urge to stray towards unrelated matters.
If your employees are the ones throwing the meeting off track, consider writing the important topics on the meeting room’s white board, reminding them of the important points when things start to veer into outside territory.
Manage your time
Long meetings are the bane of many an employee’s work life. Sitting for hours on end in an aimless meeting that encompasses too many topics and discusses too many points is not only a bad use of an employee’s time, it’s a bad use of a manager’s time.
Not only will your employees be thinking about all the work they could be getting done, your points will likely be lost in translation.
Consider having shorter meetings that cover fewer topics. Provide employees with succinct and pithy information so that they can absorb it, in a short enough period of time that you maintain their attention throughout the meeting. It’s hard to keep employees’ attention when they feel like they’re drowning under their task list. Only give them what they can handle.
Have clear takeaways
Keeping your meetings organized is one thing; ensuring that each of your attendees comes away with the correct information and incentives for action is another.
Lay out exactly what you need your employees to get out of the meeting. Whether it’s three ideas for a new project or solutions to inner-office strife, your meetings need to have clear objectives and endpoints. If you don’t communicate to your employees’ what you’d like them to accomplish in the half-hour meeting, you can’t expect them to be as involved or attentive as you need them to be. Provide clear instructions and guidance; speak plainly and reiterate points that you feel aren’t being driven home efficiently. Communication is the secret to great meeting, and could be the one thing standing in the way of true employee ascension.
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