I’m sure you’re all too familiar with the calendar pop-up reminder, “9:00am meeting.” Right? The dreaded office meeting that no one is prepared for and certainly no one has time for in this over-scheduled, endless email, hectic work environment. Well, I’m going to share some ground rules for effective meetings that will encourage engagement, increase productivity, and keep the eyelids open in your next meeting.
I have a little “insider information” for all you meeting goers and facilitators. I have made an awful lot of copies of meeting agendas at my time here at sparkspace and I can tell you one thing: conducting effective meetings does not mean making copies of the schedule the morning of your meeting and passing it out at 8:57am.
Tip #1: Have An Agenda
I know, I know….you already know you need an agenda, duh. This bit of advice is on every Google search and meeting blog related to having a productive meeting. You have an agenda, but do you know how to get the most out of your agenda? Unless you’re emailing it to your staff at least two days before the meeting you’re probably wasting your time and energy putting one together.
Agendas are tools that are most useful if shared prior to a meeting. This way your team knows what’s on the docket for the day, can come prepared to discuss outlined topics, and most importantly, knows the meeting is well planned out and won’t be a brain-draining waste of time.
Along with the typical time frame, goals, and outcomes, add something funny, intriguing, or colorful to your agenda to liven it up. When I used to write agendas, I would always put: “2pm — SURPRISE EVENT”, which would keep my staff intrigued and looking forward to what I called “the dreaded afternoon slump”. This is the part of the afternoon when everyone drifts off into his or her own thoughts, wondering if this meeting will wrap up early.
Make sure you have something on the agenda that grabs attention, whether it’s an afternoon snack, game, or power walk. Including something out of character will break up the monotony of the meeting and keep your team engaged. In case you’re curious, the “surprise event” I promised my team was normally some sort of fun treat or funny video that related to our topic for the day.
What are the effective meeting strategies that you use? Comment below to share!