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Have you ever been in a bad, unplanned meeting? 

You arrive on time only to have your team members join 15 mins late. The agenda is unclear which leads to ineffective communication. Team members don’t really get the opportunity to speak up and offer innovative solutions. And finally you conclude the meeting with no actual action items to move forward with. 

They are not only time-consuming and ineffective but also do not provide any real benefit to your team’s work. In the end, it’s merely a formality like most stand up meetings or weekly reports. 

The good news is – there is a better way. And you won’t have to turn your team’s habits upside down to achieve it. 

But before we dive into it, let’s discuss what it actually means to conduct an effective meeting. 

What makes a meeting effective? 

Effective meetings are important for your team’s growth. It paves a path to a better way of working and is composed of several aspects. 

team-meeting

Preparation 

Setting the right agenda is the key to proper preparation for any meeting. Your goals for the meeting should be clear and should involve actionable points. The agenda will be the centre of everything that you wish to accomplish with the meeting. Ensure that you keep the agenda handy and easily accessible by everyone. 

Delegation 

The how, when and whom of delegation make up an important aspect of effective meetings. Discussing what’s going right and wrong isn’t enough. You need to effectively create and delegate tasks to accomplish the goals discussed in the meeting.

For a lot of managers today, this happens via email. First, they note down the actionable items (or tasks) during the meeting and then send email(s) to team members assigning these tasks. But technology has made this process much simpler and easier, taking us a step closer to conducting effective meetings. So there’s no good excuse for you to not adapt tools in your team meetings. 


Focus and engagement 

To state the obvious, it is essential that team members stay focused and engaged during the course of the meeting. It ensures that team members are comfortable voicing their opinions and ideas. 

A good way to achieve this is by summarising the action items after every agenda point. This ensures that team members are updated with what’s going on at regular intervals. 

Action plan

We can’t emphasise enough on it – meetings won’t be effective unless the discussion is converted into clear actionable tasks for your team members. While concluding the meeting, you need to clarify what should be done next, and how each team member is going to contribute in accomplishing it. 

Action plans are important for team members to move forward and should be prioritised while closing all meetings. 

team-meetings

Tips to conducting an effective meeting

Anything can be made effective when done structurally – including meetings. When there are set rules and guidelines to follow, it is easier to identify and resolve problems during meetings. Let’s look at some! 

Be true to time

Nothing kills the attention of your team members than delays. It’s important for everyone to show up on time and end on time. 

Besides being sensitive to the start and end time of the meeting, you also need to devote time based on your needs. For instance, if you conduct an one hour meeting and you have 4 items on your agenda – it is best to devote 10 mins on each point and the last 20 mins to discussing action items and how to move forward. 

Since the amount of time to be devoted is subjective, you have to be extra careful while managing this time. Time management is key, especially during meetings. 

Control the meeting, not the conversation

It is essential that you stay in control to stay on track. But at the same time, you must establish boundaries where this very control doesn’t overpower the conversation. Often team members find it difficult to voice their opinions and ideas because of time constraints, unhealthy environment, or even because no one asked them. 

Having a solid set agenda will help you overcome these problems. Remember to include even the smallest of discussion in your agenda to allocate enough time for it. You must also share the meeting’s agenda with the rest of the team before the meeting so that they come in prepared. It will ensure that conversations happen faster without anyone feeling left out of the conversation. 

Conclude the right way

An important part of every meeting is defining the next steps, who’s responsible for what, and the deadlines surrounding the work. 

Leave a few mins at the end of every meeting to define these things for your team. It ensures that everyone is clear on what to do next when they leave the meeting. 

It is also best to discuss when the next meeting will be before ending this. It is a great way of ensuring that everyone in the team is on the same page as you. 

 

Poorvi Naithani

Content Marketer

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