Top 10 Hacks to Perfect Your Meeting Plan
Sometimes business seems marked with one tedious meeting after another - whether meeting with clients or colleagues. In fact, there are times where it feels like we’re even having meetings about having meetings and not much is getting resolved. So how do we ensure that we keep meetings effective and that no-one ends up wasting their time and losing valuable work hours inside a boardroom? We delve into the top 10 tried and tested tips and tricks of the consulting trade of how to organize meetings and run them effectively.
1. Have a meeting plan
It is important to not go into a meeting blind. To avoid people not being prepared or have them get side-tracked you should have a clear guide as to what is expected from the meeting. Send out an ATA (Agenda, Time limits, Action points before meeting with clients or colleagues. An agenda is the best way to organize meetings. This gives everyone a clear outline of the topics and subjects that will be discussed at the meeting and who will be responsible for each.
Time limits are another important factor. In order to keep everyone focused and respectful of one another’s time it’s crucial to assign a set time per topic/subject. Action points are what will lift morale and productivity alike. By detailing the desired outcomes and those responsible for the task(s), no one will feel like the meeting has essentially accomplished nothing. It will definitely evoke a feeling of accountability in those assigned the specific deliverable/objective.
To affirm this feeling of productivity and accomplishment, it’s also imperative to send out an updated ATA with all the outcomes of the meeting shortly after the meeting has ended.
2. Set ground rules
You can easily keep them as part of a meeting plan or agenda template. It should outline a few basic ground rules in terms of prepping for as well as conducting the meeting. These ground rules can include things such as protocol for running late, leaving early or not attending, mobile phone etiquette, and testing internet connectivity before the meeting starts (if it’s an online meeting). Ground rules will also vary between an internal meeting and a meeting with clients.
3. Avoid the blame game
Nothing can derail a meeting plan and be less productive than when people start shifting blame. A productive meeting is marked by valuable discussions, improvements and finding solutions. Shoving others underneath the bus to avoid accountability is not only unprofessional in a business meeting setting, but will accomplish absolutely nothing.
4. Don’t be afraid to share the challenges
Meetings (especially those with upper management) can often turn into a bit of an ego parade. This doesn’t help anybody. Especially not you as a consultant is charged with making improvements to the company’s processes and performance. You should place focus on how beneficial sharing challenges can be, especially in a room full of experienced and highly skilled professionals. They will surely be able to brainstorm a solution.