Women In Business

Meetings: Business boosters or a necessary evil?

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If you’re fed up with meetings, you’re not alone. Perhaps you’re thinking the meetings you attend could instead be handled over email. Or that meetings simply delay getting things done. Some workplaces are constantly meeting, while others have outlawed them all together.

So, what is the best way forward? Can employers create productive meetings that boost business and if so, how? Here are seven tips for holding meetings which actually enhance communication and boost your business.

  1. Set an objective for the meeting

What do you want the outcome of the meeting to be? If your meeting does not have an objective that you cannot clearly articulate, then you should think twice about holding it.

  1. Have a structure, create an agenda and have actionable items

Well conducted meetings earn trust with your clients, stakeholders or team. An agenda keeps the attendees focused and on track throughout the meeting and encourages them to come prepared.

Actionable items give the meeting attendees ‘takeaways’ from the meeting that assist to move your objective forward. Always end the meeting with actions to communicate clearly to attendees what their goals are before you meet again. Actions help to meet your objective, energise the attendees, and inspire them to complete requested tasks.

  1. Have discipline. Start and finish on time

Ensuring meetings don’t run unnecessarily long will make a big impact to how your meetings are perceived. Starting and finishing on time allows employees to plan their day effectively and accurately. For external clients, starting on time ensures your business appears professional.

  1. Give everyone in the meeting a task

At a minimum you need a timekeeper, scribe and a facilitator to run the meeting. Giving your meeting attendees clearly defined roles assists to keep them engaged.

  1. Hold meetings if it suits the personalities in your team

This is about knowing your team and what communication style works best for their personality types when it comes to receiving information. A standard meeting may not be the most effective and efficient way for some people to comprehend and understand what is required of them, and as such might be better communicated with in a one-on-one sit down, a coffee catch up, a standing meeting ‘on the go’ or simply an email update. On the other hand, if an employee thrives within a meeting environment, you know you’re onto a winning strategy.

  1. Avoid distractions and actively listen as others talk

When a meeting attendee has to ‘quickly take a call’ or send a short email or text message, it not only delays the meeting, but it’s rude. It shows they don’t value your time. To ensure clear communication and keep all meeting attendees feeling positive and valued, request mobile phones not be brought into meetings, be turned off, or not left on the desk. Remember – out of sight, out of mind.

Not being at the mercy of distractions means active listening is possible. Practising active listening ensures each member of the meeting feels valued as you engage with them. Communication is a two-way process and actively listening to each meeting attendee assists you to better understand them.

  1. Request feedback.

The best way to get involvement in your meetings is to request feedback before, during and after. The planning of the meeting is just as important as the meeting itself and seeking input from the meeting attendees will ensure they are engaged throughout. Seeking feedback during the meeting allows each attendee to share their thoughts and encourages open communication between meeting members. This allows each member to air concerns and seek clarification if needed.

Post-meeting feedback is also incredibly valuable. This can be in the form of requesting each meeting member review the minutes for accuracy and to make sure they are comfortable with their action items. This is an easy way to achieve effective communication and ensure action items are completed before the next meeting. If the attendees are comfortable with their action items and don’t have too many questions, it is fair to assume they should be completed on time.

Essentially, successful meetings require active participants and good leaders. Preparation is key for meetings to be constructive and productive. Meetings can be business boosters if communicated clearly and with structured outcomes in mind.

About Ilona Vass

ilonav@thebusinesswomanmedia.com'

Ilona Vass is the Director and Founder of Dancing With the Dragons. Ilona is a licenced and certified practitioner of PCM and LOD systems, and results coach, and has a Certificate in human resources and organisational development. Dancing with the Dragons assists companies and their leadership teams to develop a passionate a supportive team, ensuring that company culture equals a profitable business.www.dancingwiththedragons.com

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