Effective Meetings

February 2, 2021 by: Cheryl Viola, Executive Director, MBA

Communication is the currency of success. Meetings are meant to provide a venue for collaboration and communication so that things get done and goals are achieved.

Conducting and engaging in meetings, with team members, clients or volunteers is a fundamental aspect of business. Yet most meetings fall short of accomplishing the goals they set out to do. If you have ever shown up at a meeting just to talk in circles for an hour, you understand the pain of a poorly planned meeting. Meetings are the biggest barrier to productivity in your day-to-day life.  

Meetings cost money! Multiply everyone’s hourly pay by the length of the meeting to estimate how much a meeting is costing. As the leader, you need to make the meeting worth the company’s investment. Running an effective productive meeting is crucial to help people feel engaged and find value in attending the meetings.

5 Steps to running an effective meeting:

1.            Do not hold meetings just to meet.

2.            Articulate your desired outcome.

State in the first 10 – 30 seconds exactly what you want to happen by the end of the meeting. Identify the purpose the “WHY” of the meeting and the desired outcomes. Be transparent and include these in the meeting invitation.

3.            Include only necessary detail

Do not spend a lot of time on the back story or sharing too much information and too much detail.  As businesses are forced to pivot, they are faced with new challenges.  One of the most frustrating phrases often heard in meetings is “we have never done it that way” or “it has always been done this way”. Growth requires risk, risk means trying new things, which also includes failing and learning from it. Do not fear risk.

4.            Agenda

Be sure to have a well-planned agenda. Send the agenda to the participants at a minimum of 24 hours before the meeting. Be sure that the participants know the following:

  • Who will be in attendance?
  • What is the purpose (the Why of the meeting)
  • The goal (action item)
  • As an attendee be sure to read the agenda and minutes before the meeting.
  • Keep on time and task.

5.            Follow up with action items

Zoom meeting etiquette:

The current pandemic has introduced everyone from students in the classroom to board meetings being held virtually via zoom. There are some zoom meeting etiquette rules.

  1. Don’t be late.
  2. Turn on the Camera
  3. Mute the Microphone (be aware of background noise)
  4. Sit still
  5. Get comfortable with interrupting

We have all been taught by parents, teachers, and friends not to interrupt when other people are speaking. Meetings are designed to brainstorm, share thoughts and ideas, and opinions. This can be accomplished respectfully. Use the “raise your hand” feature, type your comment in the chatbox. Wait to be acknowledged. Have some act as the chat room moderator to signal to the facilitator someone has something to share.

  1. Close your office door
  2. Don’t multitask

                You will retain more information if you pay attention.

Everyone I have spoken with is feeling meeting burnout. Be sure that you organize and structure your meetings so that the participants want to attend, find value, and feel like the meetings are accomplishing goals.