Run meetings like a pro (part II)

In Part I of this article we provided you with a checklist to help you run an efficient meeting. In Part II we will focus instead on how to run an effective meeting. There is, in fact, a big difference between these two important aspects of running a meeting: one is more structural, the other more human. As important as it is to run to make your meeting efficient, it’s not enough to have a successful meeting. The reason for this is that it only focuses on the superficial qualities that go into running meetings and it does so in a systematic, almost robotic way. However, what it lacks is a high level of focus on the actual quality of the meeting itself. 

  • Have a clear purpose

In 2019, meetings are not the only way to collaborate. There are emails, chats and social media channels which all allow constant communication without disrupting your daily workflow. If you decide the matter needs to be discussed in a meeting, make sure this purpose is clear and justified. Holding a meeting just to share some information, is not an efficient use of your time. Your purpose is justified when you are holding a meeting that brings to a concrete decision. Another good reason is that you need space to create something as a team. A few examples could be a brainstorming session, team or project retrospectives or 1-1 meetings between managers involving direct reports or confidential information.

  • Chose participants who can make a unique contribution

Meetings are expensive, therefore it is good to keep the number of participants in your meetings to the minimum required to achieve your goal. Carefully select your attendees in order to still have a few different perspectives and knowledge. It is all a matter of judgment. 

  • Craft & Share an agenda

Dedicate some time to make a good quality agenda and include the agenda in your meeting invite. This way everyone can come prepared. Also, it allows the invited team members to assess if they really need to be part of the meeting. If they don’t, the might suggest someone who is more suited to give a unique contribution. 

  • Keep participants engaged

In order for them to be efficient, meetings require nothing less than 100% focus from the participants. This is why it’s best not to make your meetings too long, but it also goes back to the importance of selecting the right people and using your best judgment. If you require the presence of someone who has a lot of pressing work on their plate, chances are high that they will be distracted during the meeting. Allowing that person to skip the meeting and focus on their work, will make them more productive.

Another important point to consider in order to maintain engagement is to schedule meetings at the right time. Avoid taking over people’s lunch breaks or late afternoons when they would rather be home. Consider timing: it is proven that brainstorming sessions are better to be held in the AM, when our creative thinking capabilities are at their highest; while problem-solving meetings will be more productive if held in the PM.

  • Turn of the screens

Make sure no one is on their devices. It is humanly impossible to focus on a discussion when checking emails at the same time. Also, consider that for every person on their laptop, there is a person sitting next to them getting distracted by their screen, to check what their neighbor is actually doing. Some people may want to still bring a laptop along for note-taking, but that won’t be necessary if you use a transcribing software like Zoi Meet on a central device.

  • Make your meetings remote-friendly

With videoconferencing your range of possibilities concerning who to invite to your meetings is truly endless. By not requiring physical presence, when possible, you can accommodate any team member. You can also allow some team members to listen in to the meeting inactively via videoconferencing while sitting at their desks and continue with their work.

  • Make your meetings into a safe space

Build trust with your team members by allowing them to express their views. Also, make sure they know that there is no right or wrong way of thinking when it comes to divergent points of view.