10 Steps to a Highly Effective Staff Meeting
Business Meeting image via Shutterstock
Meetings are a crucial element in any organization’s life. They are a powerful tool that can be used for brainstorming, collaborations and making speedy and effective decisions. In fact, the Bayt.com ‘Meetings in the Workplace’ poll revealed that eight out 10 professionals in the Middle East and North Africa say that meetings in their company are an excellent way to reach decisions. However, without the right practices, some meetings are just a waste of time and resources, and can end up doing more harm than good to your company.
Here’s the good news though: there are things you can do to make sure your meetings are efficient, productive and beneficial to everyone. Here are 10 steps to ensure that you are running a highly effective “get-together”, which makes the most of everyone’s time, including your own!
1. Prepare an agenda
The first golden rule for a successful meeting is easier than you might think: get ready for it. Preparing in advance will make you able to put together an agenda you can easily share with your employees before the meeting takes place. In this way you are providing a sufficient background information and attendees will have a clear idea of what the meeting is all about – and ultimately feel all on the same page.
2. Only invite relevant people
Imagine this is an ordinary corporate event, such as a conference or even the launch of a new product. Likewise, you need a list of people attending the staff meeting. To narrow down your attendee list, you can use the criteria of ‘relevance and contribution’, so that only those who are sincerely interested in the topic and willing to contribute with their judgement and knowledge will get around the table.
3. Document your meeting
Taking written minutes is a good strategy to keep a record of the meeting and of its key points. You can have one person specially designated to recording and sharing the most relevant information with the attendees once the meeting is over.
4. Follow the leader
As the meeting goes on, you need someone to coordinate and provide a logic sequencing of the items to be covered, so make sure you appoint a meeting leader. Assigned by you and your senior employees ahead of time, this leading figure should be someone who feels comfortable in taking the driver’s seat and has earned trust of the entire team over the time.
5. Leave time for questions and discussion
Smart questions are the fuel of productive meetings. Here comes the meeting leader, who is in charge of ensuring everyone gets a say. Off-topic questions won’t be admitted – floor open to constructive and originative inputs only.
6. Time is of the essence
It’s scientifically proved: endless meetings that drag on and on are not as efficient as short meetings are. Don’t let the attendees scratch their head about why it’s taking too long. Considering that the maximum attention span to stay fully engaged is less than 1 hour, keeping your session around 30 minutes will be a good compromise between your expectations and your employee’s time.
7. Think tech
Today’s innovation is getting meeting technologies to the next level. There are different tools – such as Skype, GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts and so forth – that have dramatically changed the way people connect. You can use them to reach your remote workforce and out-of-town employees, just as if they were on-site. But first, turn your smartphone off.
8. Don’t forget the snacks
You don’t want your employees to run out of energies, do you? Coffee is a much-needed refreshment for attendees to stay awake, a quick snack on-the-go is what they need to feel more energetic and recharged. Skip juice food and go simple to avoid awkward moments and interruptions during the brainstorm.
9. Summarize and action
Dedicating the last 5 or 10 minutes recapping decisions and action points is the best thing you can do to make your meetings truly effective. Remind everyone of the decisions that were made and the steps to be taken in the future. Also, you can spend few words to highlight how gathering and discussing together was a breeding ground for new ideas. Who said that staff meetings are just parking lots?
10. Follow up
This is the most underestimated habits of the after-meeting. Yet, it’s only when you follow up until you achieve the desired results and reach a solution that you can say to have run a successful, highly effective meeting. Don’t forget a ‘thank you’note to show your appreciation to each employee who participated and made all this beautifully happen.
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