6 Tips To Have Better Business Meetings
A business meeting can either be an efficient, informative affair, or a dull, boring, disengaging nightmare. We’ve all been to business meetings that we dreaded going to. The presenter was dull and monotone. The information was less than organized or presented in a way that would make even the most concentrated person tune out.
You don’t want business meetings like that. They should achieve a goal, and to do so, there are a few things you need to do to ensure your attendees stay motivated and engaged. Here are six tips for better business meetings.
1. Plan Ahead
Before you have your business meeting, plan what you’re going to say, when you’re going to say it, and what relevance it has to the material. Stick to your plan. Often, a business meeting turns into the presenter ranting about some issue that’s not even related to the quarterly sales figures or the new product your company is working on.
Save all of that for the office. In a business meeting, you’re there to make a point. It’s important to stay on track, and only present relevant information so you don’t lose your audience.
Make a written agenda, create your presentation, and stick to it.
2. Keep Within A Time Limit
Have you ever been in a meeting you thought would never end? You’re half asleep, head supported by one hand, a thin sliver of hope that the meeting will end slowly fading from sight. Let’s face it, meetings can be pretty boring, and no one wants to be stuck in one for longer than 45 minutes to an hour.
If you really must stretch your meeting over the one hour mark, then do so with finesse. Make sure your content is engaging. More importantly though, is to set a time limit for yourself when you’re prepping your material. Keep your presentation within the one hour limit, and stick to it when you’re up there presenting.
You can leave about fifteen or twenty minutes in the end for questions, but even those should be kept relevant to the material and not spin off into a tangent about another department.
Make Sure The Right People Are Coming
If you’re having a sales meeting, then Mark from maintenance is probably not a necessary attendee. Having the right audience is a good way to ensure your message is delivered accordingly, and only to the people that need to hear it.
Surprises and unexpected guests are counterproductive in general but are especially so when it comes to meetings. Review your list of attendees beforehand, look up any names you don’t quite recognize, and make sure that you’re crossing off any names that don’t need to be involved. The idea behind your meeting is to solve problems or present new information. Anyone that doesn’t need to be there, shouldn’t be.
If you’re the presenter, ask a trusted associate to take notes for you on how you did. Have them look at things like how engaging your presentation was, how your body language conveyed information, and how organized overall you were. This review can help you tighten up your presentations and overall speaking abilities, making for more effective meetings.
Alternatively, if you’re not the presenter, take notes on the information and be sure to clarify anything you don’t understand. You’re doing a disservice to yourself by leaving a meeting without a clear understanding of what was presented.
Follow Up On Your Meetings
Employee feedback can be just as important as customer feedback in any organization. Sending out a feedback survey or email can help you identify what areas of your meeting needed work, or what information wasn’t presented clearly.
Since your employees are supposed to benefit from meetings, if they don’t feel they were engaged enough, it can only serve to hurt productivity in the long run. Take a moment to talk to your attendees and get feedback, but most importantly, act on that feedback. Advice is useless if it isn’t followed.
Try Virtual Meetings Instead
Meeting in a room with plain walls, chairs, and an echo can quickly make your meetings boring and tedious. You can use screen sharing software to host virtual meetings. You can share your screen with the attendees, allowing you to give a presentation (and have them view it) from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.
This takes away the need to host a physical meeting and can make your team more engaged in what you’re presenting.
Make Sure Everyone At The Meeting Knows Their Role
More often than not, there will be multiple speakers or presenters at a meeting. Make sure that everyone who’s presenting knows their role, and what their material should be. If Karen from Human Resources is going on a tangent about sales numbers, it’s likely you won’t get much done in the meeting. Everyone has a department and a role, and that should be clearly defined in your meetings.
This can also help ensure the meeting starts-and ends-on time. You can also assign minor roles to those in attendance, such as moderator, note taker, participants, and a timekeeper. The timekeeper will make sure everyone stays within their time limit so the meeting doesn’t take longer than the allotted timeframe.
Meetings Should Be Productive, Not Counterproductive
Your meetings can have a good impact as long as your time is managed and the presenters are effective in their communication. Be sure to stay on task, on time, and only allow content relevant to the issue at hand to be presented. If you follow these tips, you’ll find your meetings are much more effective and engaging.