Dos and Don’ts for a More Effective Meeting
Many people’s jobs require them to attend business meetings. Meetings are not the same as a casual get-together with friends, and should never be treated as such, regardless of your relationship with the other participants.
Because you’re bringing people together for business, make sure you’re familiar with the etiquette so that meetings go smoothly and, most importantly, accomplish their goals.
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When planning a business meeting, here are some general Dos and Don’ts to keep in mind.
Don’t Invite Everyone
People may be distracted in meetings for a variety of reasons, one of which is that their presence is not required. Unless the meeting is to discuss a major company/department change, don’t invite people just so they can be included; instead, invite only the people who need to be there.
Looking at who can add value to the meeting is a simple way to decide who should attend. As a result, it’s important to understand what each meeting requires, as well as its purpose and structure, which leads to the next point.
Do Have an Agenda
Nothing is worse than a meeting that goes off track. Create a basic agenda and adhere to it. Make sure you know what you want to get out of the meeting and keep it on track.
Having an agenda conveys that your time and that of your employees are valuable and that you want to concentrate. By winging it, you’re implying that you don’t value the other person’s time or effort. Employees prefer to believe that the meeting leader has a strategy and will then be more willing to contribute to a specific goal.
Declare the agenda at the start of the meeting and layout your expectations for participation, while also discouraging your attendees from wandering. Simply put, if you don’t have a clear agenda for a meeting, don’t hold one.
Don’t Have Sudden Meetings Too Often
Avoid “surprise meetings” with your employees because they will not only be less collaborative, but will also limit each participant’s productivity. Employees who are constantly on the lookout for a surprise meeting will be unable to concentrate on their daily tasks.
Furthermore, having a relatively structured schedule allows employees to prepare what they need to prepare before the meeting, avoiding empty sessions where people contribute unproductively. This isn’t to say that you can’t have an important ad-hoc meeting every now and again, but they should be kept to a bare minimum.
Do End Meetings on Time/Early
When you have a set agenda, try to stick to the points and limit the number of off-topic conversations that occur.
Long meetings are rarely effective — Bad meetings cost professionals 31 hours a month (roughly 4 work-days) in lost productivity, with half of that time considered “wasted”. A productive meeting may easily be conducted in 20 minutes or less. Questions and input shouldn’t be sacrificed because you failed to follow your schedule and agenda.
Do Foster Active Discussion and Collaboration
Show participants you value (differing) ideas by listening and actively responding to their inputs. When you have an environment where others feel it’s safe to share their ideas, you have psychological safety. Google research found that the sales teams with the highest levels of psychological safety overshot their targets by 17%, while teams with low psychological safety missed their goals by 19%.
And of course, try to incorporate the element of fun in your meetings to loosen everyone up and encourage them to actively participate in the discussions.
Many business meetings are pointless. Much of what you’re attempting to do will be lost on your employees if you don’t bring them together in a productive, dynamic, and collaborative way.
Even if the majority of meetings are now held online as a result of globalization and the pandemic, you can still utilize this information to improve the quality of your meetings. Also, keep in mind that, as meetings become more “globalized,” your employees will surely need to be fluent in English in order to achieve meeting goals. Even with all the etiquettes followed, weak English proficiency will still be detrimental to a meeting’s communication. Find out more about it here, or directly discover ELSA Speak and how we can help here