How to Ensure Workplace Meetings are Effective

How to Ensure Workplace Meetings are Effective

Ensuring workplace meetings are effective

The reasons why you may wish to hold a meeting at work include:

  • To agree an approach to a task or project
  • To divide up tasks and duties between staff members
  • To keep employees informed on developments in their team, their department, the company as a whole or their business sector in general
  • To deliver feedback on performance

Meetings need to be an effective use of time for both the person chairing it and the other attendees. The ways in which the chairperson can ensure the effectiveness of a meeting include:

  • Think about the best time to hold the meeting. Some employees are not fully focussed on mondays or fridays, some may be sluggish straight after lunch, and if the meeting is held in late afternoon, they may have an eye on the clock instead of giving the meeting their full attention
  • Think about where to hold the meeting. If it’s held in the main office, it’s easier to get distracted, so is a meeting room available on or off site? The meeting room needs to be large enough to comfortably accommodate everyone.
  • Think carefully about what will be discussed and consequently who needs to attend. Everyone with a direct involvement in the matters being discussed may need to attend, however having too many people impairs discussion
  • Draw up the agenda, ask attendees to suggest additional agenda items, and circulate the agenda before the meeting
  • Take formal minutes as the meeting proceeds
  • Set a timespan for the meeting as a whole, and a timespan for each agenda item, and do not allow these to be exceeded unless what is being discussed when the time runs out is very important
  • Try and get the attendees back on-topic if they stray from the subject matter being discussed
  • Stop the attendees fiddling with their phone, checking their email or carrying out any other activity that means they are not giving the meeting their full attention
  • Ensure everyone is clear as to what they need to do following the meeting. Invite people to ask questions. Document the follow-up actions required from each person in the minutes
  • Circulate the minutes of the meeting as soon as possible afterwards

As an over-riding consideration though, consider beforehand whether a meeting needs to be held at all. Holding a meeting takes people away from their desks and stops them carrying out their regular duties. If there is nothing to discuss or communicate, then cancel the meeting.

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