There is a certain paradox that envelops business meetings. They are meant to help teams move forward with projects, come up with new strategies and generate fresh ideas. Instead many employees gripe about the ‘fruitless’ nature of such meetings. Late arrivals, inappropriate meeting attendees, vague agenda and unnecessary lengthy talks result in waste of time, energy and creative powers. As the workforce has become much more youthful, digital and target-oriented, business meetings must follow in its footsteps. We recommend the following tools that could facilitate meeting management: Rainbow Agenda, Minutes.io (paid) and GetMinute.
What are the ways to turn aimless business appointments into productive sessions?
- Prepare an agenda: The lack of agenda leads to laid-back sessions with no specific goals. It is impossible to be productive without a sense of direction. “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there!” Setting up an agenda is imperative so that attendees would have a heads up about the topics that would be covered. Having an agenda gives attendees the chance to prepare. It is common sense that if one has no idea about what is going to be covered, the meeting turns into a blind hide-and-seek. Trick: Send the agenda 24 hours in advance to kindly remind attendees and ask them to contribute to the agenda plan. Meeting reminders should also underline the importance of being on time. If you are late for this meeting, this would affect the next one. The end result is a domino effect of delayed meetings.
- Choose the right people: It is often the case that during business meetings, some attendees are more active than others. This is normal, as long as the latter are not inactive only because they do not ‘belong’ to a given meeting. Has it happened to you: being in a meeting that is not only inappropriate to your skillset but has no relevance whatsoever to your work responsibilities? Think of a meeting as a cake recipe. You do not put salt in the mixture, right? Similarly, when choosing the meeting attendees, selecting the right attendees is key to the outcome. Try to be as relevant as possible: assign clear roles and purpose.
- Squeeze every minute: Lengthy meetings tend to be less productive, as discussions become less focused. The right length and the time constraint provokes more creativity and encourages better time management. Having a lavish or non-existent end time supports off-topic conversations.
- Get to know your colleagues: Regardless of whether you are physically or virtually connected to your co-workers, invest time in getting to know them. As collaboration is the key to productivity, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your teammates is vital. If you are strangers to each other, how would you exchange ideas or sparkle enthusiasm? Dry meetings are rarely productive.
- Agree on next steps: You have surely left meetings without having a clear perspective on what is going to happen next. The general feeling of satisfaction does not mean you have an idea about what follows. To avoid leaving a meeting wondering what is next, make sure you understand your tasks. The worst case scenario is to actually need another meeting to clarify things you have already discussed. Attendees should walk away with concrete (yes, concrete as hard as a concrete block) action items.
Most of the meeting minutes tools will eliminate these concerns.
Try Rainbow Agenda for free to turn business rambling into powerful and effective meeting.