“Let’s meet about that” is a popular refrain that echoes regularly through the offices and hallways of organizations everywhere. Often though, said meetings are hastily arranged and largely unproductive. Although emergency “huddles” are sometimes called for, good meetings are well planned. Here are some important points to keep in mind.
Meet with a purpose
Before you dive into calling a meeting, make sure it has a valid purpose, such as:
- Accelerating communication among all team members, improving the overall productivity of the group,
- Improving (or rejecting) ideas and initiatives that are under consideration, through group discussion,
- Binding group members to a group decision, because even dissenters are more likely to back a decision that comes about via a team-based decision-making process,
- Facilitating and strengthening the group leader’s ability to earn the respect of group members, and
- Giving the leader the opportunity to assess each group member’s contribution in real time, which helps evaluate employee performance.
Think about the reasons you’ve called meetings. Is the reasoning behind them still sound?
Create a structure
Productive meetings are just the right size and shape. To help facilitate this:
Set an agenda. Even if you have a meeting every week, there will always be important topics to cover. Solicit suggestions from group members and distribute the agenda a day or so before the meeting so everyone can come prepared.
Focus on discussable topics. If the meeting consists only of a series of announcements, those can be communicated by other means. Pick agenda items that lead to two-way communication.
Choose attendees with care. Be careful not to invite employees to meetings unless they can contribute new knowledge or benefit from what’s going to be discussed. This also helps keep the size manageable and conversation on topic.
Don’t deny itThe subject of meetings often draws scorn and sarcasm. But there’s no denying the value of a good discussion when properly planned and executed.