How to Run a Successful Office Meeting

By Sandy |  Dec 4, 2019 (5 min read)

Career | Life in the Agency

We’ve all been there. Stuck in a meeting where nobody is interested and nothing gets accomplished. Without proper planning and structure, meetings can become the bane of your existence.

But, with the right practices in place they can actually be valuable and useful.

A meeting face to face is a great way to sync a team on a specific project, to build rapport, and to encourage collaboration. According to the Harvard Business Review, ‘a meeting defines the team, the group, or the unit. Those present belong to it; those absent do not.’

In today’s age of online communication, meetings are a good way to humanize your team and reconnect.

Whether you have daily, weekly, or monthly meetings in your company,  here are some best practices that can help you get the most out of meeting times.

1) Start and End on Time

There’s nothing worse than waiting for late people to arrive at a meeting. Of course, there are genuine reasons why somebody is late, but the more you excuse the lateness, the more often it will happen.

A great way to reduce lateness is to agree to start on time, even if everyone is not present. This teaches the team that they must be punctual, or they miss important information.

It is also a good idea to finish the meeting on time. If all items have not been discussed, then add them to the next meeting agenda. Finishing on time respects everybody’s time and reduces the meeting going off course.

2) Use an Agenda

Each time you get in your car, you have a clear destination. The same should happen for your meetings. A simple agenda outlining what will be discussed, and who is speaking about what will help make this happen.

If you have people from different locations or departments attending you can send out the agenda ahead of time to see if they want items added. It also helps everyone be prepared for their role in the meeting.

3) Encourage Everyone to Speak

While not everyone in the meeting will play a large role, it’s still important to encourage those people to share their points of view. Sometimes those who are more reserved or introverted will have excellent ideas. However, they may not feel as confident in sharing them without being asked.

If there is a person leading the meeting, they can be responsible for asking each attendee for feedback. Or at the end of the meeting, there can be a section for each person to share their thoughts for 1 -2 minutes. Either method will help everyone be heard.

4) Limit the Chit Chat

Although you want to encourage everyone to speak, there may be one (or several) people who take the meeting off course with chit chat. As the meeting begins there will usually be some small talk, but once the agenda has begun try to limit the chat as much as possible.

If one person is dominating the conversation, a simple acknowledgment of their views through summarizing can help. Phrases like “What I think you are saying is…” or “To summarize your point, are you saying…?” Close-off phrases like these will help move on from one topic on the agenda or a side conversation.

If a new issue is raised that is important but there is no time to review it during the meeting, you can always ‘park’ the new topic to be added to the next agenda.

5) Set Clear Actions

The final piece that makes a successful meeting is to always have written actions at the end. While not every piece of the discussion needs to be listed, the key action points should be.

List what is to be done, by who, and by when. This gives responsibility to the team member and holds them accountable.

It can also be a good idea to review previous action items during your next meeting. List ‘previous action items’ on your agenda and then each person knows they are accountable to get the items done before the next meeting.

These five simple steps can help to improve the success of your team meetings and allow each person to find value in them. Of course, not every meeting you attend will be riveting, but you can get through them successfully if you focus on working together as a team.

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