At times we all wish we could see a bumper sticker on the back of a car that reads, “Meetings Happen”! Because, it is inevitable that some time through the week, we are sitting in a meeting of some sort. Picture this for a moment; it is a great morning and we are getting a lot accomplished around the office. We are catching up and meeting deadlines. It feels good to be in accomplishment mode. An e-mail pops up on the screen. An impromptu one hour meeting is called in the conference room. It starts in 20 minutes. Productivity is over for a while.
Engagement is important and meetings are a part of process improvement here in our area. Although unannounced meetings can challenge efficiency, it is often because of meetings that we become more effective and proficient.
It is also important that meetings have an action plan, an agenda with current deliverables, and results. In many organizations, meetings have little purpose or preparation. Recent studies have suggested that only about half of all meetings are productive.
Any gathering needs to consider participants. A defined process makes these sessions a top priority and purposeful. Leaders need to ask if every suggested attendee needs to be present. They need to ask, are the meetings aligned with current goals and objectives? Is there an environment of open and honest dialogue?
The ingredients of productive meetings should include the following 12 points:
- Have a plan
- Prepare information prior to the meeting (groundwork)
- Have an agenda to pass to everyone (include charts and materials as needed)
- Facilitation is needed to control the meeting
- A gatekeeper can make sure everyone participates
- A scribe takes notes or utilizes a whiteboard to bullet commentary
- A timekeeper manages the time effectively
- Follow up with all attendees within 24 hours to gauge feedback
- Provide a short summary/ abstract of the discussion
- Thank all the participants for sharing
- Set the next date
- Include a “rate the meeting” comment section in the e-mail
Organization, quality on interaction, and topic can make or break a meeting. Purpose and goals combine to increase employee engagement.
Meetings will always part of organizational process. Making them worthwhile and productive moves everything forward.
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Photo: Sura Nualpradid, freedigitalphoto.net