Love ’em or hate ’em meetings are an essential part of most people’s working days. Of course, the way that you approach meetings can make all the difference. In fact, with the right attitude and a little work beforehand, you can ensure your attendance at meetings is as useful as possible. A topic you can read more about below.
Have an agenda beforehand
First of all, if you want to get the most out of meetings, you need to get an agenda beforehand. This is for two critical reasons. The first is that with an agenda, you will know what is likely to come up in the meeting. Something that means you can prepare yourself for any questions, and make sure you have the data or evidence necessary to make your point effectively.
Additionally, a meeting without an agenda can be a dangerous thing. Primarily because no one has any expectations for what it will cover and how long it will go on for. Essentially if you attend a meeting without a pre-agreed agenda, there is no telling when it will end, as there is no defined purpose to the event.
With that in mind, insist on an agenda for every single meeting you go to. Unless you want to spend your precious time wading through a swamp of uncertainty, that is?
Set a time limit
Next, to get the most out of a meeting, it can really help to set a timer. In fact, you can set a time limit for the end of the session, as well as each area you wish to discuss.
Of course, it can be even more helpful if this timer is visible to all that are attending. The reason being that this can be used to stop people from being too verbose or going on and on. In fact, after using this technique a few times, the ways your meetings run can be much improved without you or the person charing them having chivvy everyone else along.
However, a word of warning is needed here! It is that for this to be an effective way of managing meetings, you must be consistent. That is, everyone has to abide by the same rules, moving on when the time has elapsed. Something that can be tough if it is down to you to remind your superiors. With this in mind, getting those higher up their hierarchy to institute this and lead the rest can be the best idea.
Another way that you can get more from meetings is to take minutes while they are going ahead. In fact, writing notes as to what is spoken about as it happens, has a range of benefits. The first is that it can stop you from getting bored and letting your mind wander.
While the second is that it can provide you with an accurate record of what occurs in the meeting for future reference. Something that can help you with clearer decision making and be useful to refer back to in an official capacity as well. In fact, if you doubt whether people will do what they have been instructed to during a meeting, keeping minutes is crucial. The reason being you can then use these to check up on whether they have completed the task later.
Lastly, when it comes to getting more out of meetings, do remember that establishing how crucial a meeting is incredibly important. Sadly, there is often a culture of unnecessary meetings in the workplace. A situation that you will find is often based on one of two things.
The first is that those in leadership roles feel as if they have to show their authority by leading meetings and telling large groups of people what to do. Sadly, this can often be a terrible use of time because it is rarely the case that every single person in an organization will need the same information and guidance.
Secondly, unnecessary meetings can occur when people would rather spend time away from their desk. In that way, they can become a real productivity sap, especially if you end up being stuck in one with someone that loves to hear the sound of their own voice.
To that end, you mustn’t attend every meeting your presence is requested at. Instead, carefully assess whether your presence will be useful and whether you will get anything useful from attending. Then you will be sure of getting the most out of your meetings because you will know that everyone you attend will be worth your while.