Have you ever been stuck in the never ending meeting? It’s the meeting where everyone leaves a little bleary eyed and sleepy but no one feels like anything got accomplished. Most people have experienced these meetings. They’re not only demoralizing for staff but expensive for the company. These energy draining get togethers waste time and decrease productivity. If you are going to hold a meeting, here are some ways you can ensure you have engaged and efficient contributors that make the most of everyone’s time.
How to Conduct a Productive Meeting
Set concrete meeting objectives ahead of time. Perhaps the most important thing you can do to ensure a productive meeting is set your goals for the meeting ahead of time. It is impossible to meet goals that haven’t been established. Once you identify the reason for the meeting and the desired outcome it will be much easier to implement the steps needed to make it a success.
Communicate with all meeting attendees. Once your objectives have been set they should be communicated to everyone that will be attending the meeting. You should also communicate your expectations for the meeting and how the meeting will be run. Over communicating ahead of time should help ensure that all attendees come prepared and with the right set of expectations.
Don’t over or under include people. There is a temptation when scheduling a meeting to include everyone that might have some interest in the topics being discussed. This can be counterproductive if the meeting becomes so large that it is challenging to manage. You should review your meeting objectives carefully and include only those people that are needed to meet your objectives. Conversely you also need to consider who your key attendees are and make sure that they are present. If your meeting objective is to update the budget for the upcoming fiscal year but your budget analyst and approving manager are not available, your meeting becomes much less productive and in all likelihood a waste of time. Key personnel and decision makers must be present whenever possible, so schedule your meeting accordingly.
Treat everyone’s time as important as your own. When it comes to coordinating and running an effective meeting you should try to treat everyone else the way you would want to be treated. If there are weekly reports due every Friday morning try not to schedule important meetings late Thursday afternoon. When building a meeting agenda, leave time for lively discussion if a topic warrants it. Keep in mind the schedule and needs of others. A little bit of consideration and forethought will help ensure you have happy and engaged meeting participants.
Efficient Meetings Tips
Now that you know how to have a productive meeting, here are some tips to keep that meeting moving in the most efficient way possible.
Assign people roles prior to the meeting. You should take advantage of the fact that you have already carefully selected who will be attending the meeting and assign specific tasks to some of your attendees to keep the meeting moving. One attendee should be designated as a minute taker so that other people don’t bog down the meeting while taking notes. This will also ensure that everyone receives the same highlights and bullet points from the topics discussed. Another attendee should be designated as the clock watcher and hold everyone in the room accountable to staying on topic and on time. If appropriate, also assign someone the role of running the meeting. This should be a supervisor or topic specialist and a person who is not afraid to speak up to move things forward or table an item for further discussion at a later date.
Have an agenda. You should have established meeting goals and objectives. Use these to help you formulate a clear agenda and timeline for the meeting. Your agenda should clearly spell out the steps needed to achieve your meeting goals. Once you have created your agenda, give all meeting participants a copy prior to the meeting and ask that everyone come ready to give their thoughts and feedback. This will help all parties arrive at the meeting prepared and ready to discuss. This helps save valuable time and greatly increases efficiency.
Categorize your meeting topics. As your meeting progresses you will find that the information and conversation that occurs will generally fall into distinct categories, for example: helpful information, items to table for later, and needed action items. Assess which categories your meeting topics typically cover and identify them as you go through the meeting. This will allow you to quickly categorize items and move on, making for more efficient meetings.
Meeting With Us Is Always Productive
ASNOA knows what it takes to lead an agency, when you work with ASNOA we help improve your efficiency and build your business. We provide access to direct carriers and IS Management System support and training, backroom accounting and agency services support –all key departments that larger independent agencies have. How can smaller carriers compete with larger agencies? By improving their efficiency and leveraging a beneficial partnership with ASNOA.