Five Steps to Effective MeetingsAdded by Jack Downing on January 3, 2013 | Version 1
Here are five steps to effective meeting managment. Excessive workload negatively impacts productivity and effectiveness, as well as our sense of work-life integration. We know from surveys that one of the biggest contributors to workload and wasted time is ineffective or unnecessary meetings. Here we have identified some practical tips for effective meeting management. This is a topic well covered, and none of these tips are rocket science, but they are worthy of a reminder
1. DECIDE. Before calling a meeting, ask yourself some basic questions
- Is a meeting really necessary or can the objectives be achieved through other means? Other SmartCloud for Social Business collaboration apps can often be used creatively to achieve the same goals.
- How long (or how short) does the meeting need to be to achieve the objectives? Aim for the shortest reasonable time – proper planning can cut meeting times down significantly.
- Who is critical to invite to the meeting? Ensure that you only invite participants that need to know and/or need to provide feedback or help make decisions.
- Are there different time zones and/or cultural conflicts to consider when scheduling a meeting? Although we all have to take meetings at inconvenient times, be as considerate as possible to your global colleagues by understanding their time zones, days off and holidays.
2. PREPARE. You’ve decided you need a meeting – preparation is key
- Preparation is the best practice for leading effective meetings. Set aside time to prepare, then send or post the meeting objectives and agenda and any pre-read materials in a Community or Activity.
- Consider the best technology to use to facilitate the meeting.
- If you are using Notes, print a list of attendees from View Invitee Status to monitor who is expected to join and who is actively participating.
- Use your introductory remarks to cover the meeting purpose, relevance to participants, agenda, logistics and expected outcome of the meeting.
3. MANAGE. During the meeting, manage it for effectiveness
- Stick to the agenda, and if a side topic emerges worthy of further discussion, respectfully take it offline with the appropriate participants.
- Engage all participants fully during a decision-making and/or feedback meeting.
- For global meetings, it’s important to understand and take cultural norms and language barriers into consideration.
- Close by summarizing decisions, open issues and next steps, and include the summary in your meeting minutes.
4. ATTEND. Making a meeting effective as a participant
- First, make sure you need to attend the meeting. Most of us simply can’t attend every meeting we’re invited to, so prioritizing is critical. Ask yourself these three questions: (a) Will I gain value from the information being presented and is this only way to obtain it? (b) Will the meeting leader gain value from my participation? (c) Is it more appropriate for a colleague or team member to attend?
- When attending a meeting, preparing will make it more effective for everyone – read the agenda and pre-read materials and be prepared to share your views.
- Be on time – set calendar reminders and let the meeting leader know if you’ll be late so they can start without you.
- Avoid multi-tasking and actively listen and participate, particularly because you’ve decided there is value in attending.
5. ENABLE. Best practices and alternatives to standard meetings
- SmartCloud Meetings is best used when providing demos or leading large meetings and provides multiple ways to facilitate virtual interaction.
- Pre-load documents into the meeting so people can view your presentation offline if necessary.
- Use the meeting poll feature to collect meeting feedback.
- Use the meeting report feature to share action items, questions, answers, and important links entered into the discussion area.
- Communities and Activities are great apps for housing meeting agendas, pre-reads, minutes and other materials.
- Forums, Files, and Ideation Blogs are examples of effective tools to use in lieu of meetings, particularly for social sharing of documents and ideas.