And few things are a bigger waste of time than recurring meetings that no longer provide any value to attendees (or the business). An effective meeting agenda clearly states meeting goals and discussion topics. Effective meetings are important to your business to ensure that employees are aligned with your expectations and working efficiently. Furthermore, workers consider roughly half of their meetings to be a waste of time, and 73% confess to sneaking in some real work during meetings. Sadly, there’s no magic formula for balancing cost against the potential for creativity. Same goes for knowing whether to hold a meeting in the first place, and what to do afterward to make sure it wasn’t a waste of time. You weren’t born to sit in meetings. If you’ve done a good job gathering a group with diverse knowledge and perspectives, everyone will be “the odd one out” in one way or another. Click to tweet. As the meeting organizer and facilitator, you have a chance to lead by example and be the first to broach a controversial topic or offer an unusual perspective or idea. A good team meeting helps teams align on … Here are a few note-taking apps that you can use. It involves carefully and thoughtfully selecting the right group of people, for the right purpose to deliver tangible results that will add value to the organization. (There’s a 71% chance it’s Facebook.). And you’ve got 30 seconds before they start asking the question, ‘Am I going to pay attention to you or not?’ The instant you open your mouth, you are on the verge of having your audience check out.”. In our age of globally distributed companies, a bit of thought around timing is key to effective meeting management. It’s almost impossible for someone to be going through their phone and still focus on the meeting. Because last-minute business travel and WFH days happen. It’s because efficiency doesn’t care that much if the right people attended the meeting for the right reasons; or if the meeting added any real and tangible value to the business. Rather than calling a meeting every time there is a problem or dispute in the company, find other ways to resolve those problems. Unless you’re the scribe (or note-taker) — your electronic gadgets should be silenced and put out of sight to reduce distraction and enable both you and those around you to concentrate. Using this knowledge — you can engineer your meetings so that in the first 30 seconds of the meeting, you can share the most interesting points of the meeting to arouse the interest of the attendees. Let’s face it: most of us have too many meetings on our calendars. Also, whoever is sitting beside the scribe will most definitely get distracted by the screen or the sound of typing. Unfortunately, too many of the meetings we attend … A bit of divergence goes a long way when you’re looking for creative ideas, puzzling through solutions to a problem, or exploring options. Questions like “Why do we think that’s true?” or “Can you expand on that?” or “How could we measure that?” demonstrate humility and curiosity on your part, which sets the tone for the rest of the group. There are many alternatives to meetings that are more effective and efficient than having suboptimal meetings. They provide a unique chance for people at all levels of the business to hear directly from executives and other decision-makers – and, if you include time for Q&A, vice-versa. Your next job is to assign the action steps that need to be taken after the meeting. For 99% of meetings, you can give yourself a break and skip worrying about…. At the very least, a good meeting will center on a productive discussion that will be more effective in real time than asynchronously via emails or comment threads. Using all the tips I have outlined here — you can run effective meetings that will have everyone feeling inspired rather than frustrated. The team at Trello does this if even one person is remote. The point is to have an agenda that speaks to the result you want – e.g., “Brainstorm 10 or more ways we could reduce customer churn 10% by the end of the year.” If you can’t describe what you’ll be doing in actionable, results-oriented terms, that’s a sign holding the meeting would be a waste of time. An effective meeting is like Burning Man: there are no spectators – only participants! Running effective meetings isn’t simply a matter of doing the obvious things like sharing the agenda and starting on time. Draw out the introvert toward the end of a discussion by asking whether they see points the group hasn’t considered yet. According to Fuze, ineffective meetings cost organizations an estimated $37 billion annually. Discuss the experience with your fellow attendees, and solicit feedback with questions like these: Even if the meeting was a one-off, this feedback will help you plan even better for your next meeting. You might even have the entire group join remotely from their desks. To summarize — hold a meeting only when necessary. Executing an effective meeting is an important part of a Program Managers (PM)job. If you have to make a decision — you need to press the team harder to make a decision or recommendation so that action steps can be set and taken at the end of the meeting, rather than let them off the hook with a “maybe,” or a vague decision. Your meeting agenda might have just one item. It can be tempting to scribble down some points on any sheet of paper and call it your agenda to get it over with. If you’re trying to solve a technology problem — then inviting the marketing team to the meeting is entirely unnecessary; you only need to invite the tech guys. MEETINGS, in essence, are meant to boost productivity and efficiency. Unfortunately, there’s no formula to guarantee that you’re balancing the cost of the meeting to the organization with the potential for creativity, and your best judgment is all you can apply. These note-taking apps also make it easier to share the meeting agenda, discussion points, and the action items with all the attendees. They begin and end on time. Clearly define the purpose and objective of the meeting. Effective meeting facilitation starts with a review of the goals, or anticipated outcomes … Reinforce your desired culture; meetings are carriers of organizational culture. But time is not the only thing that is wasted. That way everyone can close the lid. Okay, statistics nerds, here are a few gems for you. It can mean interrupting someone for speaking longer than necessary, calling out participants for drifting off the topic or summarizing the next action steps to be taken. After you’ve clearly defined the purpose, goals, and objectives of the meeting, the next step will be to create the agenda of the meeting. At the end of the meeting, the scribe can then take photos of the notes and share it with everyone, including those that were unavoidably absent. Sarah Goff-Dupont Meetings help people … Get best practices and sound advice on how to create understanding and work together better. You might not reach full agreement, but that’s okay. Include your agenda in the invitation so people can determine whether they really need to be there and, if not, decline the meeting or suggest someone else. Don’t be that person. Active listening involves focusing all your attention on the speaker, pay attention to their words, gestures, tone of voice, and even facial expressions, rather than just waiting for your turn to speak. Q: What is the first step to conducting an effective virtual meeting? For any meeting to be effective, it needs to have a clear, concise, and well-defined purpose, goals, and objectives. If the meeting centers on a decision, don’t let your team members off the hook and settle for a “maybe.” Push for that decision or recommendation so people can start pursuing action items as soon as they walk out of the room. Encourage the lone representative from Finance to share how the decision would affect her team. To be sure, you want to invite the minimum number of people needed to achieve your goal. When that can’t be avoided, at least check in with the people who’ll be inconvenienced to get their buy-in in advance. Win-win. Starting and ending your meetings on time not only builds your integrity as a trust-worthy timekeeper. However, it doesn’t mean that you invite everyone to every meeting in the company (see number 4). That’s fine! Chances are, your meeting will generate some kind of artifact: an action plan, a collection of ideas, a user journey, a list of next steps, etc. At its core, the purpose of a team meeting is to share information efficiently and to provide scope for discussion around what is being shared. Some meetings are both essential and necessary, while others are just a complete waste of time. Were the meeting’s purpose and agenda clear? An Extra Tip — You can actually make the scribe take note the old-fashioned way — with a paper and a pen, or on a whiteboard, rather than with a laptop. We have our regular monthly organization meetings, special task force meetings to work on, urgent actions, and committee meetings … We think that they both mean the same thing – they don’t, and you must know the difference. If you’re doing meetings right, they are where “real work” gets done. When everyone is on the same page and aware of what should be done, even the most challenging tasks can be completed. By contrast, we solve problems best later in the day when our minds are a bit tired. Assign these action steps with a deadline to specific individuals or teams when possible. People need assurance that stepping outside the norm won’t be a career-ending move. (for recurring meetings) Are we holding this meeting on the right cadence? Making the meeting environment comfortable. It says nothing about whether the right people were in the room for the right reasons, or whether the meeting generated any value for the business. Unless you’re acting as the designated scribe, laptops should be closed and phones should be off the table. To ensure that everyone gets a chance to speak at the meeting, invent some type of a “. Teams are made up of individuals, and they function best when each member is happy, healthy, and productive. Principal Writer. How long “too long” is, and how deep “too deep” is, is up to the facilitator to decide). Working from home isn't easy, and the transition from the office to home isn't totally natural, but with enough awareness and some good advice you can increase your productivity, improve your communication, and remain connected with your team. Collaboration brings the best in people and allows them to contribute and share. Another way of keeping attendees engaged is by preparing them for active listening. March 13, 2019 John Keyser Efficiency, Leadership, Success Factors 0. That’s unfortunate. It’s about involving the right people, having a purpose or goal for this time, making decisions (and action items to … The same electronic gadgets we carry around these days that help make our lives easier and also have the ability to make us more productive at work — are also the biggest and most dangerous distractions that we have today. An Effective Meeting is one where it’s objectives where accomplished within the stated timeframe. Examples include team or project retrospectives, brainstorming, and one-on-one meetings between managers and their direct reports. And do so publicly so that others will know that you care about their opinions too. If you happen to notice one person unnecessarily dominating the discussions of the meeting and talking more than his or her fair share, call that person out. It puts everyone on a level playing field and encourages more balanced participation. An effective meeting, on the other hand, combines efficiency and thoughtfulness. Be intentional about where you are and aren’t focusing energy. Meetings are vital for the work of any organization. You’ve determined if a meeting is necessary, you’ve clearly defined the purpose, goals, and objectives of the meeting, you’ve created your meeting agenda, now, it’s time to determine who and who should attend the meeting. Effective meetings are collaborative. In addition to creating an agenda for your meetings is designating facilitators. “Oh, but I can focus on the topic at hand and check my email at the same time,” some might say. It’s prep time: Create and share your meeting agenda 1. You crafted an agenda designed to achieve the goal. These things are important; however, they are fundamental. Effective Meeting Management. Your job now is to take advantage of that diversity by making sure everyone is (and feels) heard. And this will be very helpful for invitees who were unavoidably absent but still need to inform them about the meeting discussions. Ideally, you need to assign the role of the note-taker to someone before the meeting (typically when you’re sending out meeting invites). Was it easy for you to contribute to the discussion? There’s the tendency of the scribe getting distracted by pop-ups and notifications on the device. It involves creating a safe space where others can freely express their thoughts, ideas and opinions without the fear of judgment or being looked down upon — a place where a person’s view is more important than their title. You can also take steps to make your meeting as effective as possible in the planning process. But here’s how to make the best of it. How to run effective team meetings … The real key to running a great meeting is organizing and running them with a human touch – not like some corporate management automaton. Because governmental bodies and other groups and organizations must conduct much of their business through meetings… Video conferencing is the closest thing to being there face-to-face, and fortunately, there are loads of options available: from enterprise systems like Zoom (used by teams at Atlassian) to group video chat. An effective meeting brings a thoughtfully selected group of people together for a specific purpose, provides a forum for open discussion, and delivers a tangible result: a decision, a plan, a list … (Depending on your company culture, that might not be strictly necessary, but it’s always polite.). Chances are, the meeting will be more successful this way. Optimal lighting of the meeting room or venue. Most of us don’t have formal training in meeting management skills, but anyone can learn to do it well. Even if everyone in the group has a desk in your office, it’s always a good idea to set up your meeting to be accessible and valuable for people joining remotely. Atlassian meetings typically capture all that stuff as a page in Confluence (the wiki-flavored intranet tool we make) and share the page with everyone on the invite list and other relevant people. What are effective meetings? Key elements of an effective meeting include starting and ending on time, addressing all agenda items in full and summarizing the results of the meeting … “But I can concentrate on the meeting while checking my social media or by email,” some might argue. Department and company all-hands meetings are a notable exception. Plus, we’re less likely to be distracted by a looming list of tasks for the day. Scheduling the meeting at optimal times of high energy. Getting rid of technological distractions like laptops and phones (we’ll get to that in a moment). Although employees can communicate with one another in an organization in many different ways, business meetings — if they are conducted the right way — can be incredibly effective and efficient. Continuous improvement for the win! Some note-taking apps also allow you to collaborate in real-time. You know the meeting’s purpose because you’ve thought it through. Our capacity for creative thinking is the highest right after sleep, so schedule that brainstorming session first thing in the morning. Here are some extra tips that can help you run productive meetings. A meeting involves talking WITH teammates, not AT them. But it’s very easy to drift off-topic and bring up irrelevant topics. You can say something like: “We appreciate your opinions and contributions, we do, but we need to hear other people’s opinions too so that we can make the most informed decision.”. The meeting leader sets a positive, productive tone for interaction among the meeting participants. This means that in it, you achieve a desired outcome. This transitions them into listening mode and gives the rest of the group a better chance to discuss their perspective. It shows that you respect other people’s time, and it also saves the company from lost productivity. You should also make sure that the invitees of the meeting come with diverse perspectives, especially if it’s a strategic planning meeting or a brainstorming session. What is an effective meeting? An effective meeting brings a thoughtfully selected group of people together for a specific purpose, provides a forum for open discussion, and delivers a tangible result: a decision, a plan, a list of great ideas to pursue, a shared understanding of the work ahead. An effective meeting, on the other hand, combines efficiency and thoughtfulness. Some people are born with more extroverted traits in them, while others are more shy and introverted. The catch is that you’re honor-bound to follow up on them, or you’ll lose the group’s trust. 47% of workers complain that meetings are where productivity goes to die. He is also the host of The Career Insider Podcast and the co-host of The C.A.R.E. First of all, summarize the meeting and the decisions made. Instead of having a scribe type up meeting minutes as you go, have the facilitator jot notes down on the whiteboard, snap a photo of it, then share it out afterward. Keep an ongoing, open dialogue amongst the people you meet with most frequently, and emphasize progress over perfection. You don’t have to put a specific brainstorming exercise on the agenda, but you do have to make the group feel comfortable expressing non-conforming opinions or offering up off-the-wall ideas. Effective meetings are imaginative, participative, innovative and engaging. However, taking your time to prepare your agenda beforehand can help you get your priorities right and keep discussions on the right track, so you don’t miss out on important points to be discussed. Create and share your meeting agenda with them. A: Know if your virtual meeting was effective by asking for feedback in your meeting follow-up email. But you also want the group to bring diverse perspectives and knowledge, especially if the purpose of the meeting is decision-making or brainstorming. Effective teamwork means agreeing to trust each other enough to rally behind the decision once it’s been made. Meetings in your organization are supposed to be a cooperative and not contentious. In contrast, the junior employees sit around watching the conversation and refraining from making any contribution to avoid being reprimanded (or to avoid feeling inept). Too often, people call … It’ll make you think twice about your attendee list! Our focus relaxes, so we’re able to see more opportunities and connect more dots. It’s because it serves as a written record of your discussions, decisions, and the next action steps to follow. Taking notes during meetings is not just a good habit, but a necessary one. We’re all aware of how addictive these tech gadgets and their applications can be. These meetings can be very annoying and disruptive to your daily routine. To make this even more efficient, designate time-blocks that allocates a certain number of minutes to each of these topics to ensure that no important topic is left out. Effective meetings go beyond an agenda. Sharing via email and Google Docs works fine, too. Known as psychological safety, this is one of the leading indicators of a high-performing team. Wrong. Effective meetings are interesting, high-energy events where team members work together to make decisions or solve problems. When meetings become demonstrably more effective, they spread a virus of energy and optimism across … These stories will show you how to grow your skills, make your own path, and become the best version of yourself. There are very few things that are as annoying as someone scheduling a meeting and sending out an invite with no indication as to what will be discussed in the meeting — leaving the invitees clueless as to why they are at the meeting in the first place. (More on DACI in the Atlassian Team Playbook, including a silly video starring yours truly.). If not, who should/shouldn’t be included in the future? Turns out, though, you’re not the sole judge of whether the meeting was productive or not. Identify the purpose and goal of the meeting Sharing the meeting agenda in advance helps you get straight down to business, as it will give the attendees the time to familiarize themselves with the discussion points. use of verbal and written communication contribute to the objectives being achieved Meetings … Did we have the right people in the room? Now stay the course! It transitions them from talking mode to listening mode and gives others a chance to speak. Over the course of speaking to more than 500 chief executives for my weekly Corner Office column, I have learned the rules to running an effective meeting. An efficient meeting starts on time, has few people in attendance, sticks to the schedule of the meeting in order to manage time properly, accomplishes its outlined objectives, and ends on time. It’s easy to fall into the trap of viewing meetings as the one and only way to collaborate, but that knee-jerk tendency is what gets us into trouble and gives meetings a bad name. While those things are important, they’re just table stakes. The Importance of Effective Meetings. Careful planning and preparation are essential to maximizing meeting effectiveness. The job of facilitators is to keep people on track with the agenda of the meeting. Better to cut a discussion short than to leave loose ends dangling. At the same time, businesses cannot devote endless resources. What’s important is how you use the time you have – however long that is. Before scheduling any meeting, the very first thing you need to consider is if the meeting is necessary. An effective meeting serves a useful purpose. An efficient meeting starts promptly, stays on track due to good time management, includes as few people as possible, and achieves the stated objective. Use your best judgment. The chances are that on any given day, your schedule is chock-full of them. Meetings are vitally important – if done well. It can include things like brainstorming new product ideas, analyzing results for the past quarter, and action steps to take moving forward. Let the group know that if someone has work that is so pressing they’d be tempted to multi-task, they have permission to go do that work and catch up on what happened in the meeting later. It’s okay to start the meeting by setting the expectation that everyone is 100% focused on what’s going on in the room. 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