How to organise a productive meeting

Meetings are one of the most common ways for people to get together and solve problems. They give us the opportunity to plan things and reflect on achievements. Companies and organisations, also organise meetings to brainstorm new ideas and share. However, meetings can be unproductive and boring. People hate poorly organised or stupid routine meetings. These are just a waste of time.

Why do meetings fail?

There are many reasons why meetings fail. The biggest fault typically falls on management who cannot organise, plan and moderate the meeting. Meetings also fail when:

  • Important participants skip the meetings
  • The meeting has no focus or direction
  • Attendants do not prepare or do not take it seriously
  • The meeting does not start well
  • There are many distractions during the meeting
  • Notes are not taken during the meeting
  • No clear instruction after meeting
a productive meeting

There are even more reasons meeting fail that may differ from organisation to organisation. Ineffective meetings can eat up precious time, which could be used for productive work. There should be an effective plan, clear rules, and a clear goal on why this or another meeting is organized.

How to make meetings work?

If it becomes hard to moderate the meetings, management should attend training courses. Training gives the necessary skills and guides that help arrange and host business meetings towards the goal. Training should not be avoided. Here are a few excellent meeting management tips that will give more in-depth insight on how to make meetings effective and productive.

There are several general guidelines on how to make meetings more effective, and they’re relatively simple. It takes some preparation and effort, but hard stuff is almost always worth doing. There should be a healthy initiative and dedication to the initiative. The key elements of a successful meeting are:

  • Planning the meeting. Define the purpose of the meeting before planning the next steps. What do you want to accomplish? Also, decide if you actually need a meeting for this matter – maybe you can accomplish your goals using other resources. Define clear goals, take notes, and prepare a few ideas on your own to get started.
  • Schedule your meeting at an optimal time. Meeting timing is very important. During the day, especially weekdays, people behave differently. Lousy timing may turn the meeting upside down because people may get too relaxed or may be tired after working all day. The first day of the week might be a bad idea to organise important meetings too. Usually, organisations stick to Tuesday mornings. If not sure, better ask members, when it is the best time for them to attend the meeting.
  • Create a timeline with an agenda. The meeting can quickly go off track if there is no clear timeline. Meetings should be organised in such a way, that attendants would not feel they’re wasting time. List all important points on the board and clearly define how much time it will take to go through them.
  • Location, location, location. Location is an essential aspect because during the meeting everyone should feel comfortable. There should be enough space and fresh air for better concentration.
  • Prepare materials and tools. Do your homework and prepare necessary materials, whether it is a presentation, charts, or surveys. Have a whiteboard in the front to highlight important points. Let people know about meeting and delegate them to prepare if this is necessary.
  • Invite only necessary people. There is no need always to invite all workers into meetings. It will be more effective if specific questions will be discussed in the smaller related group. The more people are involved, the harder it is to keep the meeting on track.
  • Recap after the meeting. The most crucial step after the meeting is to recap and share responsibilities. Usually this may be done via email. People should have instructions in some written form. Immediate emails make them responsible not to forget what they should do next.

Types of meetings

Not all meetings are created equal. Probably the most frequent and the strictest meetings are working meetings where the main goal is to decide how to accomplish goals and complete tasks. They are strict in time and the outcome allows for concrete delegations, requests and responsibilities.

The less frequent is brainstorming meetings. They might be organised once a month or less frequently. The main goal of such meetings is to gather info, generate ideas and generate new tasks.

The least frequent meetings are strategy and mission. They might be organised quarterly or even yearly. Such meetings may involve all participants as during the meeting new topics are being discussed. Usually, during this meeting, achievements and results are shared. Such meetings may be used to create intrinsic motivation to achieve common and new goals.

In the end, the meeting requires planning and preparation. Take responsibility and be prepared, instruct and delegate roles and responsibilities for more productivity. Let people know that meetings are not a coffee break or a chance to goof off. They should be valuable to the organization.

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