The workplace in most medium-to-large corporations is now a global one. It is not uncommon nowadays for people to fly across the world to attend a meeting, something that would have been rare just a decade or two ago. More often than not nowadays you don’t need to book a flight, rent a hotel and pay for a executive chauffeur you can just have virtual meetings
Clearly it’s important that business meetings should be conducted as efficiently as possible, so the meeting doesn’t disrupt travel plans or cause other inconveniences.
These tips will help you plan and conduct an efficient meeting.
Have a clear objective
Don’t schedule a meeting just for the sake of having a meeting. Every meeting should have a purpose that will resolve problems or create new opportunities. If it’s something simple that could be achieved without a meeting, it may even be better not to have the meeting at all.
It should be easy for everyone to understand why the meeting is necessary and what it is supposed to achieve. If you can’t define the purpose of the meeting in one line, it’s probably not a clear enough purpose.
It can be tempting to have more than one objective per meeting, but it’s best to avoid doing so. A meeting is more likely to achieve its goal when it only has one goal to achieve. If you need more than one goal achieved, it is better to have more than one meeting.
When you try to cover too much ground in a meeting, it’s easy to get side-tracked, distracted, and overwhelmed. A meeting needs focus, and that works best with a single point of focus.
More than just a Boy Scout motto, being prepared is essential to efficient business meetings. If you have to interrupt the meeting to find some necessary item or get some item of equipment working that should have been tested before the meeting, you’re wasting time and setting a bad example.
If somebody doesn’t feel like they are entitled to speak, valuable ideas can be lost. Make sure everyone feels respected, regardless of rank or tenure. On the other hand, don’t put anyone on the spot and force them to give an opinion if they don’t have one. This will create multiple layers of negative outcomes.
If you notice that somebody isn’t paying attention during the meeting, don’t take them to task for it then and there. After the meeting has concluded, talk to the individual privately and find out why you failed to hold their attention. Again, don’t make them afraid to speak up, or you’ll miss an opportunity for self-improvement.
Most employees hold a negative view of meetings. They arrive expecting to be bored, to have their time wasted, and to leave no more enlightened than when they arrived. If your meeting fails, the most likely reason is that you fulfilled their expectations.
Never Ever “Brainstorm”
Brainstorming is popular in many corporate environments, but it is generally an unproductive waste of time that rarely leads to true innovation.
The problem with brainstorming in a group environment is that people don’t feel free enough to make real suggestions. They’re too aware of the group hierarchy and their place within it, and peer pressure is just as real in a business environment as it is in a schoolyard.
People don’t easily take risks when too many other people can judge their ideas. The best ideas come from giving people absolute freedom to make suggestions at any time, not just inside meetings.