Every business professional will agree that effective communication is a critical component of any corporate venture. Moreover, promoting healthy engagement and interaction, as well as utilizing suitable platforms and methods of disseminating information, are essential tactics that support team productivity strategies.
To add, fruitful exchanges between co-workers will not only make them more productive, but also improve coordination, boost workflow efficiency, and allow them to develop accurate and high-quality outputs.
With that being said, holding properly-managed meetings is imperative for any team leader, manager, or other individuals with supervising roles. Below, we’ll discuss several helpful tips for optimizing business gatherings. But before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s briefly discuss the significance of face-to-face team meetings.
Are face-to-face meetings still necessary?
With the prevalence of innovations and technologies, including email services, messaging platforms like Skype, social media sites, and task managing software like Slack, sustaining remote communication and real-time collaboration are made more convenient and cost-effective. However, while all these digital tools are beneficial, they don’t undermine the importance of face-to-face meetings.
Indeed, technology allows group tasks to be accomplished seamlessly, but there are still times and circumstances wherein discussing vital information via electronic means will not suffice. Moreover, in companies where most operations are performed in-house, engaging in face-to-face meetings is even more paramount.
There are various goals behind the conducting of work meetings, which include but aren’t limited to:
Meetings are the ideal breeding ground for new concepts or ideas that will be shared and discussed to the members involved.
Meetings provide employees the chance to get to know and bond with their co-workers. In turn, this allows their individual strengths and weaknesses to be determined, so adjustments and compromises can be made for a more cohesive workflow. Hence, meetings are helpful in handling employee relationships and maneuvering against the potential risks of employees’ differences.
In order to improve, one must know how to accept or provide feedback, as these are needed to hone his or her skills further. A meeting is also a great venue to reflect on the group’s overall performance. Lastly, it enables individual members to voice out meaningful opinions and insights, which encourage open communication.
What makes an office meeting worthwhile?
Accordingly, frequent office meetings are the most effective means of communication to educate employees about the company’s primary objectives and vision. However, this essential gathering may turn into a disaster if it’s not executed correctly, thus turning something valuable into a waste of time.
A lot of employees actually consider office meetings to be time-consuming and tedious. In fact, a substantial number of workers tags assemblies as their least favorite part of corporate life. A survey conducted by Clarizen shows that about 2,066 (46%) employee respondents shared that they would rather do anything than attend team meetings.
What’s worse is the lack of productivity in meetings can affect the organisation’s finances. It’s been reported that in the United States alone, more than $25 million is wasted every day on costs associated with meetings. Fortunately, the consequences of an unproductive and dull meeting can be avoided. All you have to do is devise a robust and organised plan of action prior to the gathering.
With that, let’s tackle a detailed guide that you can incorporate in your next meeting to further improve the workplace environment and impel better discussions in the business rooms.
Establish guidelines for effective meeting management
Creating a guide of tactical actions to pursue an array of different objectives will make effective meeting management easier. This is because having a reference for specific types of initiatives will cut down the time being spent on structuring the meeting’s course.
For instance, if the agenda is centralised on product development, a program consisting of particular steps can be used as a guide, so time can be appropriately allocated and not be wasted on unproductive bantering.
The meeting can begin with the pitching, and then questions can only be asked after the pitch is delivered to avoid taking too much time after the presentation. If such method is proven effective in preceding meetings, then it should be applied whenever suitable to the primary agenda.
Set a clear, well-defined agenda
This may appear obvious, but establishing the main point of discussion before launching a meeting is a step that can’t be skipped. The agenda should be clearly defined, simply because not knowing exactly what to talk about and what topic to ponder on can lead to a chaotic and disorganised discussion. You can’t expect everyone to digest details that are being extended on the spot.
Setting a clear and organised plan for the meeting will also allow your employees to know what to expect and prepare for it accordingly. Then, during the day of the meeting, you must keep tabs on the time and topic, and to follow through with the course of the plan.
Think about the participants
You probably know the famous saying “the more, the merrier.” However, in formal meetings, finding yourself in a crowded place isn’t as merry as it’s set out to be.
Since a large group of participants is always tricky to manage, it’s better to narrow down the involved parties to employees who really need to be present. In addition, individuals who don’t necessarily have to participate in the meeting won’t help you deliver a productive discussion.
The attendees should have either 1) a given authority to partake in decision-making, or 2) have expertise on the subject to be discussed. If they don’t match both categories, then it’s significant to rethink inviting them. Remember, meetings should always be engaging and productive, so requesting the presence of someone who won’t be providing any relevant inputs is not advisable.
Break the norm
Well, the stigma about meetings being a boring routine of corporate life has somehow permeated a considerable number of establishments. To break this misconception, simply adhering to the norms should not be your goal. When your employees are not excited or enthusiastic about an upcoming meeting, it is almost guaranteed that they will not be attentive, participative, and cooperative on the actual duration of the session, as well.
If you think it is most likely to happen, addressing the issue right away can help you break the negative stigma and produce a more compelling and highly engaging meeting.
Here are several ways to enliven and refresh your meetings:
- Bring in snacks or provide free tasty meals to the discussion room.
- Get out of the office and conduct it in a different place, such as a hotel, restaurant, or café. A new setting can elicit new feelings and spark new ideas.
- Provide icebreakers, mini-games, and small incentives or tokens.
Always remember, in whatever you do, it is vital that you introduce something fresh and exciting to the table to combat repetitiveness.
Give others a chance to head the meetings
Employee engagement is a huge factor for ensuring the effectiveness of a meeting, considering that every party views a subject with a distinct perspective that can contribute added value. However, though ideal, attaining this is not as easy as it seems.
Rotating who gets to lead the discussion can encourage engagement and makes sure that every person stays focused during meetings. Moreover, when one is assigned to deliver a presentation, he or she exerts a lot of time and effort in planning. Thus, when you alternate leaders, each one is extended an opportunity for in-depth learning.
In selecting the leader, it’s best to consider if they’re knowledgeable or inclined in the area of the subject to be tackled, as genuine interest is one of the best motivations for performing well.
Get feedback after every gathering
As discussed previously, comment is required to improve any business venture. You can elicit valuable information from everyone who has been involved, which can highlight the group’s strengths and weaknesses. It can also pave the way for discovering opportunities to apply new initiatives.
Collecting both negative and positive feedback not only reveals whether the participants have really been paying attention. The responses also indicate whether or not they are growing interested in expanding their experiences with the meetings.
By sharing what portions or takeaways they have found useful and what needs to improve or be altered, they are aiding in ensuring that the succeeding meetings will be structured in a way that caters to everyone’s needs and optimises all of the attendees’ productivity and time.
Structuring productive meetings doesn’t entail too many complexities. As long as you have a clear guide, a well-defined agenda, a set of reliable tactics, and an adequate understanding of your team members’ needs and preferences, you can craft an ideal plan and hold a meeting that can retain your participants’ interest.
Hence, your meetings will be time-saving, cost-effective, and results-oriented. Additionally, by encouraging enthusiastic participation, you’re contributing to each of your employee’s personal and career growth.
About the Author
Chris is a content writer who enjoys contributing to various business and finance blogs. He spends his free time reading books and watching films that keep him at the edge of his seat.