An effective meeting is one that meets its objective within the given timeframe. The meeting is planned to answer the question words: who, how, when, where among others in line with the objectives.
At times meetings have earned a bad reputation. This happens when the organizers lack a clear purpose. Where this is the case, a number of people in this gathering tend to come up with ideas while others bring down these ideas. This results in time wastage and one may feel irritated and wasted.
On the contrary, meetings can be very effective and useful. This would only happen if there is a set agenda which should be followed. The meeting would also be effective when attended by the right group. Therefore, when one is planning a meeting, you should ensure that those invited are the right individuals. A time frame should be set and followed to avoid boredom due to time extensions.
Steps for Planning Effective Meetings
Having Clear Objectives.
An effective meeting should provide clear and elaborate objectives. With clear objectives, there are minimal arguments thus saving time. The objectives should be given to the individuals in advance, this ensures they are familiar with what the meeting entails.
Invite the appropriate gathering.
For a meeting to be effective, there is a need to invite the appropriate individuals. This ensures they are fully involved in the discussions. For instance, if one is trying to solve a problem, the right group will be one with good decision-making skills that can provide solutions.
When the people present in the meeting are not appropriate, they tend to view the meeting as a waste of time. In addition, they lack the necessary skills to assist in this meeting and would not be attentive.
Follow the program.
The leader of the meeting should adhere to the time-frame set for each sub-topic or objective. The agenda should be set with the appropriate time for its discussion. The program can be projected on the wall or noted down on a whiteboard for each member to view. This ensures each member stays focused in the meeting.
Regulate those contributing.
An effective meeting involves a discussion consisting of questions and answers. The leader should manage the time for a particular discussion. If the leader observes that one individual is monopolizing a discussion, he or she can call it out and continue with other objectives.
Respect the timeframe.
Every meeting has its own time-frame setting. The leader should ensure the meeting starts and ends on time. This will ensure the group stays alert throughout this period. The gathering also is also pleased when you respect their valuable time.
Technology is very useful in meetings but only when regulated. At times, technology can be a distraction to the meeting. This happens when individuals in the meeting start chatting with their colleagues and loved ones thus distracting their concentration.
Purpose of Effective Meetings.
- Sharing Information. Meetings are at most times used to share information. Meetings are the best method to share information that would result in questions. Some of the scenarios that would result in sharing information are when an organization needs to reshuffle employee duties. The employee would be expected to ask questions as to why this is being done.
- To Make Decisions. This is an important reason to call a meeting. Decision making is a process involving past experiences and future expectations. Therefore, the process involves thorough discussions involving questions and answers. Calling a meeting is appropriate since it would involve a wide range of views which would result in calling the right decision.
- Establishing Relationships. Meetings have been carried out to establish a new relationship or improve current relationships. This has been made possible since meetings have been known to create teamwork. Relationships are built when you impose a question to a colleague or add value to a colleague’s point.
- Doing Negotiations. Meetings have been done to carry out negotiations. These can be business-related, marriage negotiations, Culture negotiations among others. Negotiations involve giving persuasive information and influencing others. When carrying out negotiation meetings, one should come prepared with adequate content that would persuade and influence others.
- Enlightening Groups. Meetings can be held to enlighten and educate others on emerging issues. They can be done in the marginalized areas to enlighten about technology and marketing products. These meetings should not involve lectures. Instead, it should involve numerous interactions and fun.
Tips to Set Up an Effective Meeting.
- Stick to the Agenda. The leader should stick to the objective to ensure that each participant is well suited to that meeting. This also minimizes boredom.
- Organize Breaks. When the meeting is planned to last for long hours, the leader should organize breaks. This will prevent fatigue and boredom. During the breaks, the participants can be provided with snacks or bottled water.
- Member’s views. This is an important consideration to ensure that each member’s point is heard if he or she is willing to contribute. This will ensure the meeting has a wide range of opinions and alternatives.
- Pass the Minutes to the Members. It is good when the members have a look at the minutes. This allows each individual to leave the meeting with full satisfaction.
Things to Avoid in an Effective Meeting.
- Failure to appoint a Moderator. A meeting without a moderator would be rendered ineffective. There would often arise a scenario where an individual dwell too much on one objective. The meeting would be too monotonous and here the moderator comes in and calls it off.
- Calling an inappropriate group. There have been cases where optional attendees are invited. This should not be much encouraged since they might not contribute to the discussion and might end up seeing the meeting as a waste of time.
- Inadequate Participation. This can be the case when only a few individuals dominate the meeting. The leader should ensure that almost if not all attendees contribute to the meeting.
An effective meeting should begin in a way that informs, excites and ensures the attendee is involved. The meeting should empower the attendee and elaborate on his role in that meeting.
The leader should end minutes in a design that leaves the attendee with a positive mind. The leader should go through the overall objective and connect with the attendees the last time. There should also be a schedule for the follow-up plan. He/she should wind up before the clock ticks to ensure time is kept.
When meetings are carried out effectively, they are very important, and the attendee gains a lot from them. Unless meetings are carried out in a disorganized way, they are not a waste of time.
1. Invite the appropriate people.
2. Keep the time-frame.
3. Work as per the schedule.
4. Work with the objectives.
5. Plan for breaks if the meeting is set for long hours.