Guidelines for how to conduct and participate in effective business meetings.
How well business meetings go is often a barometer of how good a team is. Meetings that consistently run poorly, with aimless discussion, no clear agenda, no sense of progress or accomplishments can dampen the enthusiasm and commitment of team members.
Teams that conduct efficient meetings with clear agenda and an orderly process of discussion and decision-making build a sense of achievement and mutuality. Individuals may complete discrete or difficult standalone tasks or work with team members on projects outside the meeting setting, however, when it comes to making critical decisions and solving big problems, the team meeting is the place – be it staff, managers, or corporate meetings.
How do good teams run meetings? Whether the team has a daily, weekly or quarterly meeting, there are some clear steps to take to make the meeting work.
An Effective Meeting Needs an Agenda
The agenda is a list of what the team will be talking about. The reason an agenda is important is that it serves to focus attention as well as provides as indicator of how much progress the meeting is making. Spending 90 percent of the meeting on the first agenda item is obviously not a terrific progress.
What does an effective agenda look like? Here are some common and important agenda items to consider:
- At the start of the meeting, announcements should be made of current update information that team members need to know, if need be.
- Then each team member can report progress on processes or projects. A progress report consists of results, problems, assistance needed, ideas to consider, and the next scheduled plans.
- Other agenda items are problems the team as a whole has to consider. Some examples are: If there are overall results falling short, what the team can do? If the team is not working effectively with another team, what ideas can close the gap? Problem solving often leads to making decisions.
- Finally, the team members have to plan and revisit the tasks to be accomplished before the next scheduled meeting.
Three Basic Tips to Remember about Business Meetings:
- Think good meetings: It they are efficiently run, it indicates the team is working well.
- Use the agenda as the engine of the meeting: With an agenda, the team knows where it is at and where it is going. Without any agenda, there is no focus.
- Ensure participation: What really makes team meetings work is inclusion and contribution from team members. The more team members speak up at meetings and offer their opinions, the higher the quality of decisions will be made.
Knowing these basic guidelines will enable the team to get the most out of business meetings.