By Ella Porras
The modern workplace is nothing like what traditional office spaces looked like before. Also, modern meetings have changed and no longer the stretched out, and non-productive meetings as yesteryear. Add tremendous value to every meeting you organize, control, or participate in, using these great tips.
Get a Facilitator to Ensure the Success of the Meeting
You surely don’t want another meeting where only the select few dominate, and no opinions make it out into the open from a quiet audience. A facilitator can help; whether it’s a skillful employee from your team, or a professional you hire depending on the size of the meeting. Among the many benefits a facilitator brings to a meeting, some are:
- Keeping the discussion firmly on track and aligned with the agenda
- Starting and ending on time
- Ensuring all agenda points are covered
- Preventing individuals from dominating
- Assisting the quieter ones in feeling comfortable enough to participate
- Getting the progress and action points documented
Break the Pattern
Meetings can tend to become energy sapping and non-productive because your teams get into the run of the mill zone, mentally. If you feel that previous meetings have gone this way, break this pattern, and often enough, that’s all you need to do to help them zone in. For instance, surprise (or shock) them by removing all chairs from your meeting room, encouraging them to stand closely together for the meeting. A study carried out by Washington University in St Louis’ Olin Business School concluded that standing led to higher levels of engagement among participants in a meeting!
Do Your Homework
The biggest problems with corporate meetings – too many questions, and too few answers. Eventually, all that results in a long winding list of action points, 80% of which could as well have been answered had everyone cared to come prepared! Set the right example moving forward.
If you’re the meeting organizer, set the agenda clearly, and set out the right expectations in terms of what information points you need in the meeting. If you’re an attendee, anticipate what might be expected of you, and ask the organizer if you’re unsure. Within a few meetings, you should be able to realize as well as showcase the benefits of this method.
Prepare a Budget for Important Meetings
Not all meetings are supposed to be held inside your office meeting room, are they? For crucial, landmark, and critical meetings and conferences, you need to prepare a budget that accounts for the venue, the logistics, food, and need to hire external facilitators. Announcements on strategic shifts planned or taken by the company, industry level conferences monthly or annual all team member meetings, sales target completion celebrations, team building and culturally important get together – all these meetings demand befitting venues for a quality setting, apart careful planning of food and beverages which can be all organized within a package if needed. Start early, plan well, negotiate hard.
Define the Ideal Outcome
A great method of adding tremendous value to meetings is to prepare an extensive list of objective statements, decisions, action points, etc. and distribute it to the participants well before the meeting, setting the expectation that at least, let’s say, 80% need to be closed in the meeting. This self-imposed target naturally helps everyone feel motivated to pay attention, participate, and help the group achieve its target. When you close the meeting, take account of what you were able to achieve. Also, analyze and find out the factors that caused you to miss out on closing all open points, and make sure they’re covered in the subsequent meeting.
Business meetings are a necessity. However, if you don’t proactively look to add value to all meetings, they could soon become mere time-wasters for everyone and the enterprise. Trust the tips and methods discussed in this guide to take control and add value to business meetings.
Ella Porras, a freelance writer who loves writing for business, finance, women’s interests, or home and family. She is also working with yesaehai.com. Ella lives in Los Angeles with her husband and one little cute baby.