Effective Meeting Planning 101

Are your business meetings not effective as they should be? Do people feel they are wasting time in them? If so, then you might need to re-evaluate your meeting strategy. In this post, we’re going to look at the basics of effective meeting planning for small businesses.

Group Meeting

Don’t hold a meeting for status updates only.

Some businesses like to have a 5 – 10 minute meeting just to see where everyone is at work or in life. Not necessarily to discuss specific tasks that needed to be completed by a certain time, but just to see who work is going in general. These meetings are, in most cases, a waste of time.

Creating an environment where employees know they can email their supervisor when troubles arise on is a much more effective option. That way, you are not disrupting your employee’s productivity time just so 10 to 20 people can say “everything’s going good” in a meeting.

Status update meetings should only be held if there are particular issues that need to be discussed, such as a delay in project delivery times or when there are issues that several employees are facing related to a project.

Create a clear agenda ahead of time.

Do people come to your meetings unprepared? The best way to fight this problem is to create a clear agenda for the meeting ahead of time. Let attendees know what the meeting will be about and what they should be prepared to talk about. Anyone who needs to do research prior to the meeting should have the chance to do so when given 24 – 48 hours notice.

Let employees choose the best time.

If you have remote employees scattered in different time zones, tools like Doodle will allow each person to select the time that is best for them. That way, you can determine what times are best for the majority of the people involved in virtual meetings.

Choose the perfect time.

For in-house employees, you will want to choose a time for your meeting when everyone will be the most focused. There are a few times throughout the day where you are likely to get less than 100% of your employee’s full attention. These times include the following.

  • Right before or after another meeting, because people will be thinking about their following or previous meeting instead of the current one. This is also a problematic time because people will go from one meeting to the next instead of taking the time to absorb what was discussed and assigned in the meeting.
  • Right before lunch, when everyone will be watching the clock to ensure that they are going to get every moment of their lunch break. This is also a problematic time because people will leave for lunch instead of taking the time to absorb what was discussed and assigned in the meeting.
  • Right before the end of the day, when everyone will be watching the clock so they can go home on time. This is also a problematic time because people will leave for the day instead of taking the time to absorb what was discussed and assigned in the meeting.
  • Last thing on Friday, because people will leave for the weekend instead of taking the time to absorb what was discussed and assigned in the meeting.

Right after a meeting is when employees are most likely to be motivated to take action. Everything discussed will be fresh on their minds. Therefore, you want to give employees some time after each meeting to fully digest what was discussed before they have to leave for another meeting or the office.

Assign specific tasks to specific people.

You don’t want to end a meeting where something needs to be done, but no one was assigned to get it done. If you’re looking at a big project, break it down into specific tasks and assign those to the most suited people at the meeting.

Follow up on previous meeting tasks.

If there is no accountability for tasks discussed in a previous meeting, then people will be less likely to complete tasks discussed in the current one. Checking in with each employee to see where they stand with tasks discussed in the previous meeting will set the tone that tasks need to be completed by the following meeting.

Don’t involve people who do not need to be involved.

When you invite employees into a meeting that have no need to be there, then you are creating an environment where employees learn to be passive at meetings because they know that nothing applies to them. Keep your employees active in meetings by only having them attend the ones where the information presented and the tasks assigned are directly related to them.

Take actionable notes.

For anyone that needs to be aware of what was discussed in a meeting, but didn’t need to actually attend, have someone take actionable notes. These notes should cover things such as specific people completing or not completing tasks assigned at a previous meeting, tasks that were assigned in the current meeting, and items that are essential for everyone to know about a project.

In Conclusion

As you can see, there are ways to ensure that every meeting is as effective as possible. Help boost your employee’s productivity by implementing some of these key-meeting strategies today.