How to Hold Engaging, Useful Meetings Each & Every Week
Meetings are a necessary evil. Nobody likes to see them pop up on their calendar, but the results often lead to constructive collaboration and much-needed face time with colleagues. Make your next get together productive and appreciated by following these tips!
Prepare and Distribute an Agenda
At least 24 hours before the meeting, send a copy of the agenda via email to everyone in attendance. This allows them time to browse the topics, and come ready with questions and ideas. If you’re going to be discussing a specific document, attach a PDF of it to the mass email so the information can be reviewed prior to the meeting.
Pick an Offsite Meeting Location
On the agenda, include the meeting location and time frame so everyone can block out space on their schedule. If your business has a lot of drop-in traffic, plan to have the meeting away from the office. A lunch meeting at a local sandwich shop or gathering at a nearby park to soak in the sunshine will make you more productive than being interrupted by phone calls and visitors.
There are a handful of team members here that hold their Monday morning meetings offsite at different coffee shops around town. Suddenly Monday morning isn’t so bad. If your business is flexible like this, a change of scenery might be a productivity booster.
Set a Goal
Before you officially start each meeting, declare what you’d like to accomplish. Example: “From this meeting, I want to set a Q4 budget number and submit it by Dec 1st.” It easier to see whether a meeting was successful when you set clear goals.
Adhere to the Meeting Agenda
Once the meeting gets started, stick to the items on the list. If a new topic comes up, or something seems to be taking more time than expected, table it for another meeting. If you tend to have frequent tangents, block out time at the end of the meeting to address new business briefly.
Make Decisions and Follow-up Steps
During the meeting, as items are discussed, the facilitator should confirm that decisions have been made and what the next steps will be. Point out, by name, who will do what to move projects forward. If it’s a lengthy project, send a follow-up email showing a task list of items to be completed, by whom and due dates.
Keep it Fun and Engaging
Finally, meetings don’t have to be so ho-hum. If you’re gathering at the end of the day or on a Friday afternoon, bring snacks for everyone to enjoy. Or, bring a silly hat that must be passed around and only the person who dons the funny headgear gets to speak. And always offer colorful, unexpected office supplies such as bold highlighters, novelty paper clips, and colored ink pens for use during the meeting.
Need a few extra supplies to make your meetings more fun and productive? Check out Paper Direct online for festive paper, sticky notes and awards!