10 Top Tips for Effective Meetings

10 Top Tips for Effective Meetings

10 Top Tips for Effective Meetings

One of the most common complaints in the workplace is still regarding the number of meetings, with managers and team members often rushing from one meeting to another and feeling as if they haven’t actually achieved anything during the working day.  This can then have a knock on effect as they need to catch up with emails, phone calls and real work tasks after hours; in turn this can cause resentment, lack of engagement, and result in feelings of stress  and ultimately in worst cases burnout!

However, despite the existence of software packages, which calculate the cost of meetings, with some estimating that management team meetings cost around £500,000 annually, meetings form a major part of company culture;  it’s up to leaders and managers to change working practices in order to improve productivity and engagement.  In most surveys regarding engagement during meetings, almost 70% of attendees will admit to not being engaged, instead they are actively multitasking, answering emails, making notes on other matters, writing reports – or even shopping lists!  The same percentage regards internal meetings as unproductive and up to 90% of remote participants on video conferences admit to doing something else whilst on the call.  It is no coincidence that some of the most successful global organizations hold very few meetings.

So, here are the Top 10 Tips for a more effective Meeting culture:

For the Meeting Organiser:

1. When you are about to arrange a meeting, ask yourself if it is really necessary. 

2. Ask: what is the objective?  Can this be achieved by a group email, video conference, or in short 1:1s instead?

3. Block off time in your diary to prepare.

4. Follow the advice of the CEOs of the tech giants:

  • have stand up meetings
  • hold 5 minute meetings
  • have ‘walk and talk’ meetings
  • limit the number of attendees to 10, unless it is a ‘Town Hall’ type meeting or conference, for example, to launch a new product

5. Circulate a short agenda in advance and ask for any comments to be emailed back.

6. Ensure that the meeting is not focused on operational updates as these can be circulated by email, but do ensure that strategic initiatives, strategy alignment and strategic reviews appear regularly on the agenda.

7. Start the meeting at 10 minutes past the hour to give people time to arrive on time.

8. Block off time after a meeting to action any points or circulate notes.

9. For larger meetings, conferences and roadshows:

  • change the time and venue regularly to keep people interested
  • provide food!
  • ask team members to submit concerns anonymously, for example, on 'Post It' notes 
  • divide the room up in to small groups with a deputy ‘Chair’ and spokesperson on each table to discuss key points and keep the group energised
  • have a panel of leaders to provide answers and updates regarding any challenging issues, which is even more important during times of Change 

10. To ensure engagement and foster a culture of innovation, ask each attendee to chair an agenda item.

    And for the Meeting Attendees:

    When you receive a meeting invite, ask yourself and the organiser if it is really necessary that you attend or can you send someone else in your place, email an update, or be sent any action points after the meeting?  Again, block off time to prepare and action any of the points assigned to you.


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