Meetings have earned a horrid reputation of being tedious and time-consuming. While it’s a great way to share ideas, updates, and information, it seems like only a few people truly understand how to run an effective meeting. According to Fuze, cloud communication and collaboration software, 67% of meetings are proven to be unproductive. And to make it worse, ineffective meetings waste as much as $37 billion annually. A recent article in the MIT Sloan Management Review also highlighted the psychological effect of an ineffective meeting called “meeting recovery syndrome”, in which attendees lose their productive hours to recover themselves from a bad meeting.
Does this mean that we don’t need to hold meetings, after all? Of course not. In reality, if executed effectively, meetings can help teams and companies to move forward in a directed, more meaningful way. Whether it’s a strategy meeting, 1-on-1 meeting, or simply a weekly one, here are some tips to run a meeting that leaves everyone inspired rather than frustrated.
Decide whether you really need a meeting
Sometimes, what seems like a meeting isn’t actually a meeting. According to Slack, there are a couple of culprits disguising themselves as meeting-worthy:
If the meeting consists of one person talking and the others trying not to check their phone, it’s probably a presentation.
To make it effective, send the slides in advance and devote the group to discussions instead.
Is it quick? Is it to the point? If yes, it’s a status update. So why bother making it a meeting?
To make it effective, send updates to Slack or anywhere everyone can see. Follow-up discussions can be done with only those who are involved in it.
Schedule and assign a Person in Charge
With an agenda, you know what objective to achieve during a meeting. Assigning PIC also ensures that everyone knows their role, hence avoiding multitasking or using the phone during the meeting.
Create an agenda
Like a north star, the agenda will guide you throughout the entirety of the meeting and ensure that everything is discussed and addressed. A meeting without agenda will easily go off-track, hence the more detailed the agenda, the better.
Here are several examples of a SMART agenda:
- Attendees share why the choice of new candidates matters to their department (10 mins)
- Brainstorm 3 pros and 3 cons for candidate A and candidate B (20 mins)
- Come to a 60% majority on a candidate decision or set a date for offering (10 mins)
Read through the materials beforehand
A meeting is not a lecture, meaning that if you have relevant information to share with the team, make sure that you’ve shared it with the team and make them read it beforehand. Once the meeting starts, everyone is already prepared to discuss beyond what’s written in the paper or deck and, hopefully, come to a final decision.
End it with key next steps
Nothing can be worse than leaving a meeting room (or a Zoom call?) feeling even more confused, not knowing what to do next. if you’re in charge of a meeting, make sure that you highlighted what the meeting has accomplished and what’s the key action steps next.
Consider sending an email or a group chat blast to everyone who was involved in the meeting with the MoM, individual key next steps, as well as its due dates. This will avoid people from forgetting their accountability and open opportunity for who may miss one or two points to clarify it with you directly.
Meetings can be productive and rewarding if only you make it to be. Make sure to reflect on your past meetings and follow these steps before you send that Google Calendar invitation next time!