You would think that by the time people are in a leadership position, they would all know how to run a meeting. But you’d be wrong. All too often, the skills that promoted somebody to leadership do not include crucial management skills like running effective meetings. They make mistakes that could be easily rectified and make the whole team – or business – more productive. You don’t want to be that leader, and having those skills is important to your career path at every level.
Not Providing A Clear Meeting Agenda
Meetings that don’t have clear agendas can be confusing and counter-productive for those involved. Having an agenda ensures that only people that are relevant to the conversation are involved and gives people the chance to prepare what they need for the meeting. An ambiguous agenda can lead to important issues being overlooked and too much time allocated to unnecessary topics.
Not setting a time-line
Meetings that drag on aren’t just bad for staff morale, they can seriously impede productivity and waste valuable time. Aim to stick to a rough time guideline for all meetings and let staff know that any additional issues can be resolved one on one after the meeting. Flag any topics that are taking up too much time during the meeting and make a note to follow up with the relevant people afterwards.
Having too many meetings
Discipline yourself with the number of meetings you hold in a week or day as too many meetings can impede staff from taking action on the topics that you discuss. Not every small detail needs to be covered in a formal meeting and may in fact be better suited for a one on one conversation or an informal small group discussion instead.
Not leaving room for discussion of other matters
An overly structured meeting can be as equally unproductive as a meeting with no structure, making it important to allocate time for discussion for other matters. Giving employee’s the opportunity to ask questions, air any concerns or suggest an idea can shed light on a topic or perspective that may otherwise have remained overlooked. It also has the added bonus of engaging your employees in the meeting and helping them to feel heard and acknowledged. Towards the end or at the beginning of a meeting is usually the best time to invite attendees to bring up any topics or concerns that they may have.
Inviting too many people
Be discerning with who you invite to a meeting and ensure that everyone who attends actually needs to be there. An alternative can be to take down and distribute any key notes from the meeting to those who couldn’t attend and invite them to ask you or their department head any specific questions they may have regarding the topics covered. Make sure to consult with the relevant department or team as to who would like to attend.
Not following up with a clear action plan
Failing to follow up with a clear action plan immediately after the meeting can result in important information being forgotten and a lack of action. Set out a list of key tasks to complete, along with a reasonable time-frame and distribute to the relevant employees/departments not too long after the meeting. The action plan should be clear, concise and include contact information that people can refer to if they have any questions.