How To Run More Efficient Meetings in the Workplace

Conducting meetings is an essential part of the decision-making process, whether you are a school administrator or an entrepreneur managing a startup. However, just holding a meeting is not enough – the gathering needs to be well-planned and conducted accordingly.

Many people often say they hate having to go to meetings because they believe little, if anything, is ever accomplished. However, you can avoid all the headaches of an unsatisfactory meeting through proper planning. A basic essential is to ask yourself the following question: “Is the information forming the basis of this meeting something that can be conveyed without having a meeting?” Simply put, don’t schedule a meeting to disseminate information if this can be done through standard communication methods such as email.

Planning Stage

This is the stage at which the difference between an inefficient meeting and a productive meeting emerges. As part of the planning process, an agenda with well-articulated goals is created. Clearly state the purpose of the meeting and distribute the agenda to the meeting participants ahead of time so those attending may adequately prepare. Ensure that all logistics are calculated ahead of time, and make sure that the materials needed are provided. Ask for a volunteer or appoint someone to take minutes.

Conducting the Meeting

One of the essential elements of an efficient meeting is to make sure that the facilitator is clearly delineated. This individual is responsible for ensuring that all members stay on task and focused on the goals of the meeting. One thing you can do to help people participate in a meaningful way is to allow time to socialize before and after the meeting. This allows participants to be more relaxed and receptive.

Start the meeting with an icebreaker activity to get participants involved early. Stick to the agenda and the allotted time for each agenda item, as time is an important element if you do not want people to drift away. Keeping attendees engaged and feeling like their participation is essential will help move things in the right direction. Try to keep the meeting time to less than one hour, as making it any longer puts it at risk of becoming a bore fest.

Create ground rules for everyone to follow and stick to them. Allow for multiple voices to be heard and do not let any one person dominate the discussion, asthis will only discourage others from participating. Determine what process will be used to make final determinations, whether it be consensus or majority vote. Although harder to attain, consensus among the group means that all stakeholders are on board with the decision.

When concluding the meeting, summarize the results and conclusions. Determine which participants are responsible for completing any assignments, and follow up with them on pre-determined timelines.

Follow-Up

Once the meeting is concluded, the facilitator should, within a reasonable time frame, follow up with the other attendees. Gather feedback on how the meeting went and what could be done better in the future. Correspond regularly with those responsible for follow-up actions. Collect the minutes of the meeting and distribute them to the participants.

One way to help promote efficiency is to have the right business process automation software available. PerfectForms offers solutions for the office to facilitate the proper flow of information in a web-based environment. Automation of workplace information allows for better duo-direction communication, and powerful visuals reinforce meeting agenda items.

 

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