5 Strategies for Leading Effective Meetings
Meetings are an integral part of our day-to-day work routine—and now, in the world of remote work, they’ve become even more critical channels of communication and collaboration. They’re an opportunity for managers to check in with their employees, creating space for team strategizing and synchronization. They’re also the place where organizational leaders make essential decisions for the business.But meetings can also be time-consuming and costly. In fact, managers spend an average 25 percent of their working hours attending meetings. Top and mid-level executives spend up to 35 percent of their time in meetings. Some executives spend four full days a month on it.
When meetings are not led efficiently, they can cost companies both time and resources, resulting in wasted effort and a lack of alignment amongst employees.
So, how can you ensure you’re running an effective meeting? Check out the tips we’ve outlined below.
Determine the Type of Meeting
There are many types of meetings, but not all follow the same format. Regardless, meetings must be pre-planned and have a clear structure. It’s critical to determine what you want to get out of the meeting, so you can decide how to structure it. Here are several key types of meetings to consider:
- Planning: This meeting can begin with a warm-up or opening activity to get everyone on the same page. Answer any general questions around the project plan, examine current results, and have employees analyze their findings to move the project forward in a deliberate manner. Outline next steps for the project.
- Presentation: This meeting involves presenting a perspective on the business scenario or project plan with supporting points. It is recommended to make your presentation less than 7 minutes to keep the audience engaged for a reasonable period of time.
- Exchange of views: In this meeting, all participants are encouraged to share their ideas and suggestions around the project plan and discuss any changes or updates, similar to a brainstorming session.
- Traditional meeting: This meeting consists of an introductory part in laying out the project plan or business initiative, followed by a subsequent discussion with further analysis. It’s an opportunity to assign tasks and sum up the results.
- Follow-up discussion: This meeting is organized to regroup after the main meeting has already been held—especially when a decision has not been made.
According to Ann Barnes, HR specialist at Thesis Writing Service, “Managers should not only be accountable for coordinating the meeting, but also for assigning a clear role to each participant.”
By implementing this structure and helping employees understand the purpose of your meeting, you will gain strong participation and buy-in from your team.
Choose a Place and Time
When organizing your meeting, be sure to check the schedule of key participants to confirm that the meeting time is convenient for everyone involved. For remote meetings, establish a clear way for employees to connect and make sure that everyone is well versed on the technology being used.
If the team is in the office, choose a meeting space or conference room that comfortably accommodates the group size and has all of the necessary equipment and tools needed for the meeting, such as a whiteboard or sticky notes for brainstorming sessions. For lengthy discussions, plan coffee or meal breaks, and let employees know they can take a moment away when needed.
Set the Agenda
A clear-cut agenda can serve as a compass for discussion. When it comes to virtual meetings, it’s especially important to define and set expectations for participants. Come prepared with a list of ideas or topics you plan to discuss. Before the meeting, make notes on the key points within each topic so that you don’t miss anything you meant to cover. Allow for any feedback on agenda items before the meeting gets started. This way, you can create a dedicated time for questions and follow up without having any interruptions.
To avoid missing important details that arise during the meeting, take notes or assign someone the task of capturing overall results of the meeting. This includes any important data, key decisions, or group ideas that require follow up. There are many note-taking tools available for team discussions and collaboration, but you can also rely on video recordings to remember exactly what was said in the meeting. If you do record a meeting, just be sure to let the participants know ahead of time.
Make an Action Plan
Now it’s time to summarize the decisions that came out of the meeting and delegate responsibility for any follow up tasks. Try to send this summary or plan for your follow up assignments within 24 hours after the meeting. This way, ideas from the meeting are still fresh and employees will be more motivated to perform their follow up requirements.
Conduct a brief analysis of the outcome of the meeting to reflect on how effectively the time was used and determine whether your meeting’s goals were achieved. This will help you identify any gaps in your strategy and provide helpful insight on areas for improvement for the next meeting.
When you first start strategizing how to lead meetings, it may seem challenging to plan all of the moving parts in detail. But don’t worry—soon you’ll notice that you are saving plenty of company time while improving the efficiency of everyone involved.
Want to learn more about leading company meetings? Check out our blog post How to Scale Company Meetings as You Grow.
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