6 Tips for Efficient Meeting Management

Meetings make the business world go round. However, it often feels like meetings are actually slowing everything down. There are some stark differences between an effective meeting and a waste of time. When you’re in charge of a meeting, you always want to trend toward the former.

As common as meetings are, there’s not always as easy to put together as you might think. The success and efficacy is a direct reflection of both your experience and the amount of effort you put in. However, this doesn’t mean that meetings should have a super high frequency or involve a lot of heavy lifting.

To help you become a meeting management master, this nifty guide can act as your roadmap. The following tips will help you plan meetings that are more effective, enjoyable, and efficient than ever:

1. Be Prompt

Meeting management is all about time. Each point in this article will reflect that to a point. The first aspect of time management to consider is punctuality. When you’re able to start a meeting on time, it tends to run more smoothly.

Start by setting clear expectations for attendees. Set a start time and stick to it, even if some people are running late. This will incentivize timely attendance and help you keep the meeting in your designated time window.

If tardiness is a recurring problem, consider adding a little incentive. For example, donuts or raffle tickets can be handed out to everyone who arrives early or on time. If you walk in the door late, then better luck next time! Little incentives such as these also lighten the mood for those who arrive early. Light conversation over coffee and donuts can help strengthen workplace relationships in the minutes leading up to the meeting’s start.

2. Follow an Agenda

The last thing anybody wants is for a meeting to run longer than planned. To help keep meetings concise and effective, follow an agenda. This will outline the most important points of the meeting and keep the group on track.

Create an agenda that is specific to your next event. You can follow a template, but you should make sure you’re hitting all of the points that are specific to this meeting in particular. Next to each point or topic, assign a time constraint you’ll try your best to stick to. You can’t spend half an hour going over the details of the last meeting when you have half a dozen other topics to cover in the same gathering.

You can take this a step forward and share your completed agenda with invited guests. You can print these out, or save the paper and ink and send copies via email. Team members will then be able to arrive prepared to ask questions, make comments, or provide other contributions to the meeting. This transparency can make a meeting run a lot more quickly and smoothly. Your team can even make suggestions to add to the next meeting’s agenda, making it a lot easier to plan for subsequent meetings.

3. Hold a Test Run

If you’ve got a large or complex meeting in the works, you have a lot of moving parts to manage. Instead of hoping everything goes well the day of the meeting, you could benefit greatly from a test run. Here, you can go through all of the meeting logistics to get some last-minute fine-tuning in.

One of the most beneficial things you can do is a tech check. Make sure all of the devices you bring can connect to the internet properly. Next, you can test HDMI or casting connections for any presentation materials you have. Microphones, lighting, and even outlet compatibility can also get a once-over.

If the meeting revolves around a presentation, you should also practice it beforehand. Time how long it takes for you to go through all of the information. If your practice runs are a bit long, you can work on trimming it down to stay within an appropriate time. Remember to take questions and comments into account when calculating the total meeting time.

4. Vet Your Meetings

There is such a thing as having too many meetings. The quantity of your meetings can be just as important as their quality. In fact, the two can often be related. Holding fewer meetings means you can put in more focus and effort into them rather than always feeling stretched thin.

Whenever you think about having a meeting, ask yourself a few vetting questions. Does this topic warrant a full meeting, or can it be summarized in an email or short video? When can a meeting feasibly be scheduled? When was the last meeting held? Based on these criteria and any others you set, you might decide to forego planning a meeting so soon.

There are numerous benefits that come from managing the frequency of your meetings. First and foremost, your team will be grateful that they don’t have to spend so much time in a conference hall. Additionally, a reduced frequency is also an easier workload to take on when you have other responsibilities to stay on top of.

5. Extend a Call to Action

What is the goal of your meeting? Is it to inspire your team to work harder? Is it to outline a new work process to follow? Having a meeting goal is the first step to success. The next is to make sure employees leave the meeting with a new resolve to change.

No matter how good your meeting turns out, you might not see the most success until you incorporate a call to action. This consists of an invitation that requires tangible and recordable action. A call to action is commonly used in the sales world to help guide prospective customers through a sales funnel by taking action.

Let’s say your most recent meeting was focused on improving the company’s online reviews. Your call to action could be to have team members ask every customer to leave a review after their visit. During your next meeting you can see how many new reviews have been added and ask for personal experiences from following the call to action.

6. Delegate Tasks

Who said you have to do all of the meeting prep and execution by yourself? In reality, you can delegate tasks to lighten the workload. This can eliminate some personal stress and get more people involved in future meetings.

If you’re responsible for the overall meeting, you should still be involved. At the very least, you should conduct each meeting and create the outline. Small presentations and reports, however, can be delegated to other team members. Meetings will have greater variation and participation, which generally leads to a more positive experience for all.

There are two long-term solutions you can consider moving forward. Some meeting responsibilities can be permanently delegated, such as designating a team member to act as secretary and take notes. If that doesn’t sound fair, you can rotate roles instead. This way one person isn’t stuck with the same job every meeting.

Don’t feel discouraged if your next meeting doesn’t turn out perfect. Even with the adjustments you make, there are a lot of variables to work with. You’ll get the hang of meeting management over time, and soon your gatherings will be the envy of the professional world.

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