A universal challenge faced by leaders around the world—how to lead and facilitate meetings where people maintain interest and actively engage in the agenda. Too often people view meetings as a waste of time, rather than an opportunity to exchange information in a meaningful way. By leading and facilitating more effectively, your company will reap the benefits of engaged team members working to problem solve, brainstorm and create innovative solutions that will help drive your business forward. There’s far too much at stake to waste time in unproductive meetings so here are five best practices to make your meetings more efficient and effective:
- Clarify goals – Is the meeting agenda to brainstorm ideas? Report results? Or, to announce a new initiative? If you want to ensure attendee engagement regardless of the topic, send an agenda prior to the meeting. This allows internal processors time to adequately prepare and come ready to participate in discussions. When kicking off the meeting, remind people why they’re in attendance and what goals need to be accomplished. Not only does this ensure that everyone knows what to expect, but it also helps meeting participants manage their energy levels throughout the duration of the meeting. Establishing clear goals and expectations from the start will also help mitigate competing agenda items and distracting tangents. Remember to keep the meeting laser focused in order to produce the best results!
- Create an experience – What better way to engage attendees than by crafting an intentional experience? Show attendees that you value your time together by incorporating surprise and delight moments throughout the day. Whether it’s a small gift bag filled with meeting necessities or a delivery of warm cookies and milk for a fun (and tasty) afternoon pick-me-up, a small gesture goes a long way to create a fun and thoughtful tone for the group. At Roam, we provide a variety of elevated offerings to keep your attendees fueled and engaged during the meeting. Allow a meeting coordinator to help you think through creative ways to amplify the meeting objectives and add an element of fun to the day.
- Downsize – Consider the meeting goals before determining who needs to be in attendance. Whenever possible, limit team meetings to key stakeholders and keep the agenda short and sweet. Smaller groups with a limited agenda can be a more productive approach than trying to get through a long list of topics in a large group setting. Sometimes small groups are better when it comes to productive meetings.
- Troubleshoot tech – A face-to-face meeting is still the most effective way to facilitate, however virtual meetings are often necessary given today’s on-the-go workforce. But, even as advanced as today’s technology is, there’s always the potential for connections to be lost, audio systems to cut out, Wi-Fi to drop and other technical issues. If your circumstances require a remote meeting or hybrid meeting, be sure you leave time prior to the start of your meeting to test all A/V components and screen sharing features. It’s also important to take into account the limitations of your remote participants and how it will impact the dynamics of the group. Be sure to plan discussions or activities accordingly in order to maximize virtual engagement. Utilizing video conferencing platforms like Zoom, provide easy-to-use benefits that can be helpful for engaging remote attendees.
- Take action – Make sure you provide all attendees with clear and measurable results before the meeting concludes. The most effective meetings are the ones where people feel like they have solid direction with action items and follow up on the next steps discussed. A good idea is to have a meeting facilitator document exactly which action item each team member is responsible for, and the time limit for that action item.
- Ask for feedback – At the end of each meeting, asking for feedback on potential meeting alterations is a great way to better understand what is valuable to each member. This feedback can be recorded in a separate section of the meeting notes for further review. Taking attendees’ needs into account will ultimately lead to better meetings with the right people attending.
Effective meetings don’t have to be boring or stale. Incorporating each pro tip into your next meeting planning strategy will ensure that attendees stay engaged, drive results with fewer meetings and have a little fun in the process. If you’re looking to plan your next meeting in the Greater Atlanta area, consider Roam’s offsite meeting solutions. From complimentary A/V and Wi-Fi to elevated design services and catering, Roam’s service-oriented offerings simplify the meeting planning process and provide highly personalized, stress-free experiences. Learn more about the Roam meeting experience or explore Roam’s meeting room directory to get started planning your next meeting.
For more insights about how to plan successful meetings, download our free eBook, The Essential Components of a Successful Meeting.