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Tips for Effective Meetings

Meetings can be unpopular because they take up time - usually that of many people. However, there are good meetings and there are bad meetings. Here are our tips to help make meetings more productive and less frustrating for both the organiser and participant.

Treat others as you would like to be treated

Running an effective meeting, or being a good meeting participant, is all about being considerate of others. Run your meeting in a manner that you would like a meeting run when you are a participant.

Be prepared

Distribute the meeting agenda a day before the meeting (earlier if there is a lot of advance reading or preparation to do) and make sure everyone has access to any relevant materials. No one should arrive at a meeting not knowing why they are there and what is supposed to be achieved.

 If there is nothing on the agenda, do you even need the meeting?

Stick to the schedule

Start the meeting on time and end it on time - or even early. Aim to arrive before the participants to show your commitment to starting on time. Arriving late shows a lack of consideration for all those who were on time. If all participants know that the organiser is going to start the meeting right on time, there is a much greater likelihood that everyone else will make the effort to be punctual too.

 If everyone agreed that the meeting would last an hour, the meeting should not run any longer than that. If you can wrap it up in 30 minutes you don’t need to stretch it out to the original timeframe – finish early.

Consider the time of the meeting. Scheduling meetings at inconvenient times (e.g. after the end of the official work day) can have a very negative impact on morale. There are times when this cannot be avoided but generally meetings should be held at convenient times – just after lunch is a good time when everyone is fed and watered!

Stay on topic

There is almost always one person who tends to go off on a tangent. Whether this is the organiser or one of the participants, all meeting participants have the responsibility of gently guiding the meeting back to the agenda items.

 Don't hold unnecessary meetings

Consider how often routine meetings really need to be held. If you have daily staff meetings, are they actually productive?  Can they be held less often? Maybe an informal chat around the photocopier for 5 minutes will suffice? There needs to be a balance between productive use of time and the nuisance factor of meetings.

Conclude with a summary of action to be taken

If any decisions are made at the meeting it needs to be clear what needs to be done and who is going to do it. This is crucial. If the participants leave the meeting and no one is responsible for taking actions on the decisions that were made, then the meeting will have been a total waste of time. Follow up with an emailed action plan with names and timeframes.

Now we have given you our top tips, we can also offer you a nice space in the centre of Launceston to hold your meetings, and our many extras will ensure you start off on the right foot – the rest is up to you!

Contact us via https://www.branchoffice.com.au/contact or phone 03 6332 9300

Sam Pratt