Boss Lady

6 rules to ensure effective meetings

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The meeting that just goes on and on; the meeting that everyone waited for 20 minutes for John from marketing; the meeting that was so boring you almost made that difficult level in your favorite game; or the meeting where everybody in the room is thinking about the same thing: when will it finally end?

As a businesswoman, you have probably visited a bunch of similar meetings where you could think only about ending and starting some real work. Indeed, pointless meetings are very popular in modern business: a recent study by Verizon revealed that 92 percent of respondents daydreamed during business meetings because they were so dull.

Another interesting stat from the Verizon survey points out that almost half of the respondents said that meetings were one of the biggest time-wasters in their office. A more alarming finding that highlighted the need to arrange effective meeting came from Atlassian: businesses nowadays spend around $37 billion in unnecessary and unproductive meetings.

There is something you can do to avoid such serious losses and make business meetings.

We have gathered these methods in this article.

1. Eliminate distractions

Smartphones, tablets, computers, and other tech devices that are usually blamed for distraction should be turned off before the meeting starts. No meeting can be exciting and focused if disrupted by sounds of a ringtone or notifications, or vibrations of the desk.

Your decision to ban the smartphones during the meetings will certainly be supported by a majority of the participants. 80 percent of people think that sending emails and making calls are inappropriate. Just say you don’t want to waste people’s time and promise you will end the meeting as soon as you realize that the rest of it does not concern them. For those who try to argue, remind them why successful people never bring smartphones into meetings.

2. Make the goal clear

Every meeting should be conducted with a particular purpose because otherwise it becomes pointless and wastes time. To make sure that you are on the right path, ask yourself “what this meeting needs to achieve?” before you call the participants to invite them. Does it need to raise awareness about an emerging issue in the company? Or maybe its purpose is to inform about policy changes?

According to business development specialist Mark Rabkin, you should always be clear about the purpose of the meeting if you want to be respected by the managers, peers, and colleagues. The reason is simple: by telling people what to expect, you focus the conversation and avoid wasting their time.

So next time you want to explain the purpose of the meeting with something vague as “status update,” think again.

3. Avoid monopolization of the conversation

Remember that meeting when someone from your company talked for half an hour and did not let other to speak? What a meeting killer. Nothing is more boring than sitting for a long time and waiting for one person to finish the speech, especially when you also have something to add. You, as a meeting coordinator, should not let that happen.

According to Coaching for Leaders, there are several ways you can get people to stop talking, such as setting time limits, asking questions to engage more people, and even interrupting between breaths. Regardless of the strategy you assume, always remember that you need to establish ground rules early to avoid turning the meeting into a public speech.

4. Don’t let the game go to overtime

Often, shortage of time doesn’t allow meetings to have everything discussed, so the coordinator just decides to continue it. As the result, people are stuck for hours. According to a well-known blogger Chris Matyszczyk, surveys have shown that long meetings are actually time wasters because around 70 percent of attendees start doing other work because they are bored.

Many experienced people say that meetings should not last more than 30 minutes. This is because people can be focused for as long as 10 minutes! By sending the game into overtime, there is a good chance that you won’t produce anything because everybody is tired and bored. To conclude, just keep meeting very short or advise your colleagues to train their focus.

5. End meetings with assignments

This will keep them focused. Every meeting you have should end with giving the participants a list of responsibilities to be done. For example, if you have a meeting about an issue, debate possible solutions and define the most effective ones. Then, assign these solutions to be implemented to the participants.

Let you colleagues know that they will be receiving an assignment by the end of the meeting, this will help them to concentrate on what you’re saying. For you, meeting without assignments should look like a movie without ending, so use this method to increase the effectiveness.

6. Use tools for content production and meeting productivity

All meetings need to feature some content. If for some reason you don’t have time to prepare your content, you should always remember to use assistance. Here is the list of useful ones to memorize:

  • EVERNOTE – tool for those who need to organize and collect a lot of information during meetings
  • TRELLO – meeting collaboration and board
  • IO – meeting productivity tool

Over to you!

Make sure your meetings are effective with these tips and let them help you to be the best businesswoman you can possibly be.

About Diana Clark

Diana Clark is a small business coach who helps people make the transition from full-time employees to successful entrepreneur. Diana works with her talented team at Aussiewriter.

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