How to Conduct a Productive Meeting

speakers microphoneWe have all sat in meetings that seemed endless and lacked any productive material. Perhaps monthly meetings are a requirement in your company. For many, simply showing up is enough. For others, information presented in the meeting is essential to your everyday tasks.

Unfortunately, a large number of meetings are unsuccessful. The leader may be unorganized and not clearly explain the material. Or, the leader may be unprepared. He/she may hold an entire meeting by fumbling through material, only to find that they forgot to mention pertinent information.

In order to hold a productive meeting, planning will play an important role. It is not a wise idea to ever enter a meeting unprepared. If you are responsible for delivering important material, consider these fundamental guidelines to prepare for a meeting.

1) Prepare

When you begin preparing for a meeting, consider what, who, when, where, and how. You will need to decide what the purpose of the meeting is, who will need to come, when a convenient time is, where a convenient location is, and how you are going to deliver the material. Only include who needs to be in attendance at certain times. It is unnecessary to make 10 employees sit through a 2 hour meeting when only the last 15 minutes pertains to them.

2) Know the material

Although you may be responsible for a number of things, take the time to read over and highlight the important parts of the material. You cannot expect to read an insurance packet 5 minutes before the meeting begins and accurately deliver key details to the employees. Your employees will most likely have questions. Don’t waste meeting time searching through paperwork for answers.

3) Create an agenda

After reading the material, you will know exactly what needs to be discussed. Create an outline of each and every topic that you will need to introduce. Follow this agenda during the meeting to stay on task and ensure every issue is resolved.

note taking4) Stay on task

Although you have a clear agenda, you may find that a particular employee seems to get off track. They may just be wasting time to avoid returning to work. Be sure to address their comments and quickly return back to task. It is important to stay in control of the meeting in order to achieve the desired task in the desired time frame.

5) Ask questions

Often times employees leave meetings feeling more confused or unsure of what is expected of them. As you close each meeting, allow ample time to take and answer questions. If you do not have an immediate answer, be sure to follow up with the employee when you do.

Meetings are often a necessity in most businesses. However, how they are handled can mean the difference between wasting valuable company time or actually resolving issues. If you are in charge of handling the monthly meetings, stay in control by preparing, planning, and following through with an agenda.

Credits: Top image by BENIS / Fotolia; Bottom image by pressmaster / Fotolia.

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