Best advice for effective meetings
Updated: May 13
We have all had meetings that seem to last all day and lead to nothing. Meetings are an inevitable part of our working lives, however, surely there are ways to make them more productive, inspiring and effective? In this article we are going to discuss some of our top tips for effective meetings.
Here at Morecambe Hire, we facilitate many business meetings in our conference rooms and have come up with the following top tips to keep your meetings on track and to help you and your colleagues leave feeling inspired.
1. Plan an agenda
It may seem like an obvious point, however, setting out your key themes and goals for a meeting is vitally important to its success. Try splitting your meeting time up into sections and assign a topic to each time period. Discuss the basic themes of the meeting with attendees beforehand so that they can begin to troubleshoot and think about the issues at hand. Before the day of the meeting, send out a planned agenda and ask for feedback, if appropriate, to ensure that no important discussion points have been left out. This sort of planning ensures that all attendees arrive at the meeting with a clear idea of the goal and aim of this time. When everyone is on the same page and aiming towards the same end goal, you are more likely to end the meeting having found solutions and created a plan of attack going forward.
2. Review the attendee list
Some meetings are short and sweet, others take up whole days and require attendees to rearrange their work week in order to fit in this time and still complete their other objectives. With this in mind, the importance of having the right people in attendance is clear. It is incredibly frustrating to give up your time for a meeting that doesn’t really relate to your work and this can lead to an unhealthy and unproductive atmosphere throughout the room. Therefore, make sure you think about who needs to attend and whether this is a productive use of their time. If the majority of the topics are not relevant to them, then consider meeting with them before hand to get their opinion on the topics that do matter to them.
3. Meet outside the office
Corporate culture, expectations, team roles and pressure can all get in the way of a productive meeting. If you are holding a meeting that requires your attendees to think outside the box, be creative and not be afraid to share their ideas then you should consider meeting outside the office. This immediately creates an atmosphere separated from the everyday and encourages everyone to focus on the topics at hand rather than what is going on in the office around them. Even better than this, meet somewhere inspiring and with a view… how about a seafront meeting room with views spanning for miles?
4. Stay on track
This important tip links closely with your pre-meeting planning. You have made the great decision to hold a meeting outside the office and have created a creative and judgement free atmosphere in which your colleagues feel free to brainstorm aloud and voice their latest ideas… congratulations! However, are you finding that these ideas are going off track and away from your main aim? Consider putting in place an idea bank to ensure that these great ideas are not lost but held elsewhere to be discussed at a later date. One way of doing this is to ask your minute taker to keep a separate document with all of the off-topic ideas for discussion at the next meeting. Using a method such as this helps to maintain this open environment in which creativity and sharing is encouraged, however, helps you to keep the meeting on track and focussed.
5. Same day review
You’ve had a productive meeting with new ideas and solutions coming from all angles. Some of your topics have been discussed and plans of action created, but the meeting also highlighted other areas for improvement and discussion. To make sure that the successes of this meeting and the areas for future discussion are not forgotten as soon as people head home, send out a follow up email before the end of the day. Thank everyone for their attendance, highlight the great work completed and name some of the successes and outline a brief plan of attack going forward. This provides everyone with a summary and also shows them that they were listened to and appreciated. Hopefully some of this creativity and proactive thinking will be taken into their everyday work when they return.
There is no reason why meetings have to be something to dread. Use the tips above to help create and facilitate an open and creative atmosphere during your conferences that empower each and every attendee with a voice. By using these techniques to stay on track and get the most out of the experience, hopefully meetings can be something to look forward to.
If you are looking for an inspiring meeting room with beautiful views of Morecambe bay with all facilities provided, check out our Eric Morecambe Room at The Consult Centre, Morecambe.