This is the fourth of several posts written by some of my top Small Group Communication students at Azusa Pacific University. They’ve been learning all about what makes groups and teams great, and I’ve selected just a few excellent posts that will benefit my readers. Enjoy!
Make your Meetings Great
By: Heather Copenhaver, Junior Communication Studies Major at Azusa Pacific University
With great responsibility…comes a greater amount of meetings. Often they are a total waste of time, but they don’t have to be. How can we make meetings efficient and meaningful?
The three main words to keep in mind when running a meeting are frontload, focus, and follow-through.
Have you ever headed to a meeting where you have no idea what it was supposed to be about? This is a common problem. Remember that meetings cost money because you are using people’s time and salary.
Since meetings are costly, make sure that meetings are absolutely necessary. This can be accomplished by sharing the goals of the meeting, telling members ahead of time what the meeting will be about, and simply planning the overall agenda ahead of time.
Have you ever been at a meeting where discussion was all over the place? Of course, we all have.
To help focus, develop rules for your meetings such as who can speak when, and what should be discussed. Make sure that the agenda is moving forward quickly but also that you spend a fair amount of time discussing each point. A tip is to discuss the highest-priority agenda item in the middle of the meeting. This way everyone is present, and people are ready to engage. Be intentional and creative about including every member of the meeting because if you cannot address them, they probably do not need to be attending.
Have you ever left a meeting and completely forgot what you needed to do to follow-up? This happens all the time.
At the end of the meeting, briefly evaluate with the group what was covered and what tasks are to be accomplished before the next meeting. If you have a printed agenda or someone who took notes, this process will go smoothly. End on a positive note – don’t leave the bad news all the way to the end. And remind members of the next meeting place and time.
By remembering these tips for running a meeting, your meetings can finally be worth your time.