Before we move on to describe some useful practices for effective meeting management, it is important to define, what does an effective meeting entail? Contrary to popular belief, wrapping up a meeting in the shortest possible amount of time does not make it automatically effective.
An effective meeting consists of the right selection of individuals who engage in a focused discussion to produce a definitive result in the form of ideas, decisions, consensus, or new tasks. A meeting that fails to create value for the business is ineffective, no matter how short it may be.
Here are four elements to look out for in an effective meeting:
- A clear purpose
- Trust and inclusivity
- Real Results that add value to the business
To turn your meetings effective, you only need a few special ingredients such as proper structure, preparation, and excellent communication. Let us dive into how you can make that happen.
1. Types of Meetings
Meetings can be of different categories and each one requires some different considerations. Identifying the type of meeting can help you prepare accordingly to conduct meetings that produce useful results.
These meetings are like routine checkups that may happen once a day or every week. These meetings are conducted with the goal of updating team members of the progress, discussing new challenges, and making sure everything is on track.
The goal of this meeting is to share information regarding any changes, new products, and techniques.
Decision making meetings are conducted to reach a final decision and the commitment from all members to act on the decision. These meetings can often include brainstorming sessions to explore options lead by assessment, ranking and finally voting.
Troubleshooting meetings utilize problem solving as a group process to address identified problems or developing new strategies for the future.
Innovation meetings or creative meetings encourage divergent thinking and brainstorming to come up with innovative solutions. These meetings are highly inclusive and thrive of collaborative discussions where all opinions are entertained.
Team building meetings promote group cohesion and include meetings such as kick-off meetings, corporate events, integration trips and more.
2. Tool – Choose the right tool to run such a meeting.
Online meetings have seen a rise in popularity in recent years. This new demand for virtual meeting experiences has resulted in a variety of new tools and technologies. Today, there are countless solutions available to conduct effective video and audio conferences in real-time. Choosing the right tool plays an important part in the effectiveness of the meeting. The choice of tool ultimately depends on a few major factors.
Ask yourself these questions before choosing any tool for your remote meetings:
Question: Does every participant have access to the internet and a stable internet connection to ensure a smooth-sailing meeting?
Hint: Since all online meetings rely on a stable internet connection to work, this is an important consideration. An inadequate connection results in interruptions in communication that can quickly derail your meeting.
Question: What are the prerequisites for participating – Additional software, tools, etc.?
Hint: Some solutions require additional software and packages to be downloaded whereas some tools are available on the web. Not everyone has the ability to download additional software, so it is important to figure out what works best for all the participants.
Question: Does the conference need to be recorded for future viewing?
Hint: Some meetings can benefit from being recorded for later use. Not all solutions provide this capability.
These are just a few sample questions to ask before choosing the right tool like Microsoft Teams. It is a good idea to contact your IT department or personnel to guide you towards the appropriate technology. Prepare a set of business requirements and features beforehand before consulting your IT team.
3. Creating a Foundation for Remote Meetings
Many people are not aware of the correct protocol for remote meetings. It can be beneficial to create a solid foundation for ones attending the meetings from their home or other remote locations. Here is some recommendation to convey before the meeting:
- If you don’t have a home office, it is essential to create a separate space in your home to attend meetings. Ideally, this space will be free of noise and other interruptions so you can participate in meetings in peace.
- Make sure to use a headset during the meeting to eliminate all external noise.
- Ensure to avoid having a cluttered background during video conferences. Some tools have the option of blurring the background or adding a custom background to make it look more professional.
- Inform the people around you about the meeting to ensure there are no disturbances.
The meeting agenda informs the attendees about the important aspects of the meeting to ensure that the conversation flows in the right direction. The agenda needs to be sent at least one day before the actual meeting so all participants can familiarize themselves with the topics.
The agenda typically contains a list of all the planned topics, the general structure, and some background information to ensure everyone is on the same page. While not all meetings require an agenda, most formal meetings can benefit from one. You can save time by creating a meeting agenda template.