Efficient & Effective Meetings

Author: Larry Woods on 04/29/2014

Meetings can be somewhat of a double-edged sword: you have to get everyone on the same page in order to deliver a quality product and hit deadlines, but with a seemingly endless parade of meetings filling up our calendars throughout the week it's easy for participants to become distracted and ultimately unproductive. Here are a few tips to help ensure you are part of efficient and effective meetings.

Have an agenda

Going blindly into a meeting can be frustrating and can certainly set the stage for limited productivity among attendees. Preparing an agenda before meetings lets participants know that there is a legitimate reason for the meeting with specific issues to be discussed and outcomes to be achieved. They also help to keep everyone focused and eliminate excuses as participants will know what they should be prepared to talk about.

Invite the right people

People are busy. Meetings can be very time consuming and are all too quick to fill up our schedules, limiting the amount of actual work we can get done. That’s why it's important to make sure that only those that really need to be in the meeting are invited. There will be those that need to attend the meeting and those that want to attend the meeting. As the organizer, consider the purpose of the meeting and make a decision to extend an invite to appropriate people.

Be on time

Showing up on time, better yet a little early, shows that you're interested and invested. It reveals discipline, integrity, and most importantly, shows that you respect others and don't under-value their time. It also allows you a few minutes to gather your thoughts and prepare before the meeting begins.

Send out a summary

Although attendees may seem to have a clear understanding during the meeting, most attendees probably didn’t retain all of the information that was discussed. Bearing in mind that we're all human, it's important to understand that our brains aren’t steel traps. Sending out a recap of the meeting can serve as a reminder to those that were in the meeting and can also be forwarded to those who might not have been able to make it. It also puts everything into writing in case there should be any discrepancy down the road as to what was discussed.