Who doesn’t love a calendar full of meetings? Nothing beats returning to your desk at 5:00 pm with eight hours of emails, tasks, and to-do lists to catch up on! Good news is, it’s never too late to change the status quo or shake-up those weekday occurrences.
Here are some tips for laying the ground work to make meetings more productive – so that you can be more efficient and productive with your time.
Meeting leaders should prepare in advance by anticipating participants’ questions. You should be able to address:
- Why are we having this meeting?
- What do I expect is going to happen at this meeting?
- Will I be able to contribute?
- Will I learn anything new?
Be sure to place the most important items at the beginning of the agenda and if you anticipate any conflict from participants, talk to those individuals 1:1 in advance of the meeting.
Lead Great Meetings
Here are some ways develop a reputation that you lead great meetings:
- Only call meetings when they must happen – can a quick informal conversation, or two, suffice rather than a formal meeting?
- Only invite needed participants, don’t be overly inclusive
- Be early to your meetings – either on the phone, online or in person – and greet people when they arrive so they feel comfortable
- Provide a written copy of the agenda, with time restrictions and adhere to those restrictions
- Start the meeting on time and don’t delay for late arrivals
- Encourage sharing of different viewpoints and encourage productive and respectful opposition opinions – do not allow bashing
- Show appreciation when colleague speak by making eye contact, showing interest and asking related follow-up questions where appropriate
- Ask for volunteers rather than assign tasks – forcing participation is not recommended
- Keep the pace moving forward and focused on the objectives
- Wrap up the meeting, with five minutes remaining, by summarizing the key take-away points and agreeing on deadlines and tasks
- Thank everyone for their participation and attendance at the meeting
- End on time
- Immediately follow up the meeting with written document of attendees, objectives, key outcomes, assigned tasks, and deliverable dates
Enhance Your People Skills
The way you run meetings is an important component of your job, and a likely indication if you are ready for advancement in your career. We spend a lot of time honing our hard and technical skills, but the soft skills – like running meetings – need just as much attention. Many of these soft skills, like emotional intelligence, affect your ability to run meetings effectively.
Take a look at the seven signs of terrible people skills to assess how these may be impacting your ability to run effective meetings:
- Lack of networking: Do you promote your work and accomplishments? Do you associate with, or even influence, others who have a higher position in the company?
- Inability to coach and mentor: Recognize the great work of others. Offer constructive feedback and guidance to your direct reports.
- Can’t deal with office politics: They’re in every office, learn how to stay out of it and rise above those conversations.
- You’re a quitter: Don’t let your energy sag during difficult projects. Promote and recognize others that persevere in difficult situations.
- Poor communication skills: This includes both listening to others and effectively articulating your thoughts to others.
- Lack of self-confidence: You’ll always be challenged, especially the higher up you go in a company. Get the training or experience you need to improve the underlying issue.
- Emotional overload: Are you quick to anger, especially in difficult times?
How do you stack up on these seven deadly sins? Trouble with any one of these could derail your career, your current job and your future career growth. In addition to working on your meeting skills, it is essential to work on these soft skills, too. For additional education on soft skills and to see how Becker can advance your soft skills, check out our course catalog.
Meetings are an important part of your career. Demonstrate you understand this by taking meeting seriously with these preparation and practice tips – your career depends on it!
Share the effective meeting techniques you’ve found to be most successful in the comments below.