Meetings are infamous for being a corporate plague. Ineffective, long, boring and numerous, more than often they achieve close to nothing while taking up everyone’s valuable time. It does not matter your industry is: whether it’s healthcare, IT solutions, law, or financial services, if you’re a consultant, you need to make the best use of your time. How effectively you manage your time can affect business outcomes.
And if you’re super lean and run your business from a virtual office, meeting room rental is an additional expense. At Excen, our serviced offices in Sydney come with the unlimited use of meeting rooms, but if you’re running a virtual office and rent meeting rooms by the hour, surely you want to make sure your meetings are as short and effective as they can be!
Here are some tips to ensure your client or team meeting is effective and productive.
Before the meeting
SET UP the meeting intentions
List your meeting discussion topics and objectives and provide information on what led you to call the meetings. Send your agenda and meeting materials well prior to the meeting so that participants are on the same page and ready to hit the ground running. Remember that the main goal of a meeting is to make decisions, not only share information.
DEFINE Who should be there
How many times have you attended a meeting which missed key decision-makers and how many of these meetings had significant decisions made? Make sure attendees include the key people, or you’re good to schedule another meeting down the road with them anyway.
Invite the right people. Anyone who could help make the decisions and anyone affected by its outcomes should be considered to attend the meeting.
Be mindful of the number of people who’ll be there. Too many attendees and you risk accomplishing nothing, too few and you might have missed crucial decision makers or information givers. The optimal number of people in your meeting depends on what type of meeting you’re running. Are you trying to take a decision, solve a problem or is it a brainstorming session? Here’s an article on how to define the ideal number of participants.
Prepare the ground
When important decisions needs to be taken during your meeting, you will increase your chance of success by having a chat with every individual involved in the decision prior to the meeting. It can be time consuming, but has the benefit of giving you precious information on your attendees mindset about the decision to be taken, and will help you facilitate the meeting in the best way possible to reach the decision.
During the meeting
Follow your agenda and check the time
At the start of your meeting, remind attendees of the agenda and that you’ll focus on these points today. Go through your agenda point by point and if something comes up that is not relevant to the agenda, inform them that you’ll put this “in the parking lot” for further discussion at another time. Obviously, you need to really take note of it and add it to the meeting notes.
When the conversation is going off-topic, acknowledge the point raised (make a note of it) for future follow up at an appropriate time. Not only this will help you focus on your agenda, it will ensure you address the valid points at a later stage.
Using the “parking lot” technique implies that you will really follow up on the points raised, or your organisational efforts during the meeting will be considered smoke and mirrors.
Stay away from digital devices
Take notes on a notepad using your meeting agenda as a guide. If it's a team meeting, introducing a no-device policy during the meeting will increase the focus of everyone present, and speed up the conversation. Keeping devices in a meeting incites people to multitask and thus to miss important parts of the conversation.
Related article: How to increase productivity at work with these mindfulness tips
After the meeting
Follow up with meeting minutes the very same day or the day after latest, and set yourself reminders to keep following up on action items. No follow up means there is nothing in written to make people accountable for what has been said / promised.
Are you working from home in Mosman, Chatswood, Neutral Bay or nearby suburbs and want to meet your clients in the most professional way? Book one of our chat rooms, meeting rooms or conference rooms by the hour or at half day and day rates. Visit us and discover the flexibility and benefits of meeting room rentals with Excen.