If you’ve worked in any kind of office environment, you know the frustration and irritation you feel when you’re required to sit through an endless procession of purposeless meetings. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, the average business workforce spends 15 percent of its time in meetings. And while there are certainly times when an email can more effectively serve your objectives, effective meeting planning can make meetings more meaningful, successful, and engaging.
Decide on a Purpose. What is the goal of your meeting? Group consensus? Explaining new company policy to employees? Project tracking? By zeroing in on your focus, you’re better able to determine who should attend the meeting.
Invite Essential Attendees. To more easily determine who to invite, try using the RAPID framework. Invite the person who Recommends a decision or action; the person who Agrees formally; the person who Performs and has accountability for the work; the person who Inputs extra details that may or may not align; the person who Decides on the action.
Create an Agenda. Determine topics to be covered along with materials to be distributed. Send these items to attendees before the meeting to give them ample time to prepare. Prepared attendees make for better engagement and less wasted time.
Eliminate Distractions. Nothing is more frustrating than presenting to a room filled with people who are all looking at their phones instead of listening to you. Make it clear that other than a note taker using a laptop, electronics and technology must be shut off during the meeting.
Establish a Timeline. Let your attendees know when the meeting will begin and end. By respecting their time, you’ll find people feel freer to engage and less stressed about where they were supposed to be when your meeting ran over.
Determine Next Steps. As your discussion progresses, make sure action items, deliverables, accountability, and deadlines are clearly stated. This will give you the framework for follow up.
By running meetings more efficiently, you’ll discover they become far more effective. Also, your employees will be eternally grateful.