Have you ever experienced a wasteful meeting that could’ve been an email? Or worse, a meeting that goes completely off track and turns into hours of non-productive brainstorming. As a manager, it’s your duty to make every meeting count. Don’t spend time on meandering ideas that could be devoted to carrying out action items. Make each meeting meaningful. Be intentional and outline your meetings to demonstrate leadership and focus on important action items.

Create (And Commit To) an Agenda

Send an objective on what needs to be accomplished during the meeting. There are a few reasons you need to send an agenda before the scheduled meeting.

  • It helps people prepare – if you want to discuss financials, your accountant needs to know so they can provide a summary of the numbers.
  • It keeps things organized – an agenda should prevent tangents, getting off track, and forgetting salient points.
  • It provides transparency – when everyone knows the discussion points, they can keep you accountable

It can also be helpful to provide paper copies of the agenda as the meeting starts to help workers take notes on specific points and keep things in check.

Abide By Guidelines

Your meeting needs to start on time. It’s basic courtesy and the right way to set the tone. Plus, promptness leads to people getting out earlier to get back to work. Set expectations for a meeting. Is this intended to be a brainstorming session, or will you request specific action items? Can workers reference their phones or are you requesting undivided attention? Be clear with what you expect from your staff, and follow these same guidelines yourself.

Set Up Your Tech

A fluke managers don’t often anticipate – the technology breakdown. Your projector won’t boot up, your flash drive can’t show the file, your laptop battery dies. These issues are so common – which means you have no excuse to prevent them. Preparation for your meeting needs to include testing any technology and making sure it’s easy to use. One of the biggest time wasters can be simply waiting around the table while someone is logging in. A five-minute pre-check can save you from any tech disasters and keep things moving along.

Wrapping Up Business

You’ve carried out a great meeting – got the updates, discussed the agenda topics. But a successful meeting results in action. Wrapping the meeting up can actually be the most essential part. Document any action items, and specifically assign them to one or more employees. This should include a timeline as well – request a draft and provide dates on when you expect to hear back. Follow up with your staff too. Don’t wait until the next meeting to review the progress of a project, or you might find out they’ve been stuck or need insight. Pop in when you can to discuss the meeting points to prevent delays or mistakes.

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