Having effective meetings is nowadays a key point for good organizational performance. Its misuse represents important economic losses for companies. Simply measuring the number of hours by the hourly value of its participants makes us think about the importance of being effective and forceful. Virtuality has multiplied our number of meetings, but the problem is not the quantity but the quality, which, when it is bad, is also a threat to people’s morale and stress. Sound familiar?

Below we share with you a series of ideas and tools that are fundamental and, above all, easy to implement, so that through the good use of meetings your teams can be highly effective.

Before the meeting

We want the participants to arrive and have the necessary information and value the meeting. We must be sure to communicate the key points at the time of sending the invitation:

Define Objectives

Share clear objectives for your meeting.

What are we getting together for?

What will be the Outputs of the meeting?

What would we like to see happen?

Knowing WHAT we want to achieve will make it easier to define HOW that meeting will be.

Tip: If you are not clear in advance, before starting with the participants, list and show them the objectives they propose. At closing you will be able to review whether or not they were fulfilled. If they are not clear, do an exercise to have everyone express their expectations. If the meeting does not meet these expectations, they are clarified and removed so as not to generate false expectations.

Participants

We all like to know what we are summoned for. Each guest must have clarity because their participation is fundamental. If someone does not have a critical contribution to the theme of the meeting, it would be better not to participate.

Ask yourself the question:

Why should you participate in this meeting?

What is your key contribution?

Tip: If you have doubts with any participant, consult personally, share the topic and together you will be able to identify their fundamental contribution and whether or not they should attend or not.

Agenda/Structure

How long does it last?

It must have a stated beginning and end. Everyone should know what time it starts and what time it ends. Within this framework, the meeting should have a structure of spaces for each stage. Calendars and minutes can be used to assist in the outcome. Sharing it with the participants in some cases can also help their better development.

Tip: You can use Google Sheets templates with timelines and adjust them to your needs so that the times are respected.

At the meeting

The following are some points that will make the difference between a normal meeting and a highly effective meeting. Be sure to comply with some of them and you will notice the difference.

Assign a facilitator:

An assigned facilitator helps a lot in the dynamics. If it is external it is better, to avoid conflict of interest with the contents to be discussed. Once assigned, we must ensure that he or she advocates the fundamental conditions for effective meetings.

Tip: Be the first step and take responsibility for the rest of the details for an effective meeting. That it is not always the same person.

Mindfulness (FOCO):

Ask participants to turn off cell phones, e-mails and other points of distraction. A whatsapp message directly affects our concentration. It takes us 20 minutes to return to mindfulness after reading a message that has nothing to do with the meeting.

Tip: Share before starting the importance of turning off cell phones. Offer 3 minutes for them to warn their environment that they will be absent until the first break. If the meeting is face-to-face, use a basket or hat to encourage everyone to leave their devices until the first break.

Breaks/Recreos:

Our attention span is limited. Breaks should be well planned and announced prior to the meeting. Good rest is essential for good concentration.

Tip: Use music to change the mood. If face-to-face, change the setting, encourage them to walk. Avoid further discussion of the meeting.

Freezer:

There are topics that come up accidentally and threaten to divert our focus away from the objective by making it a meeting within the meeting. Noting down the points that are not related to the objective to “use” in another meeting will help us not to underestimate issues and not to lose the direction of what we are looking for.

Tip: Draw a freezer on a chalkboard or poster board. When a topic arises that threatens to divert us from the meeting, he proposes to leave it in the freezer to be used at another meeting. Advise in advance that we are going to use it and its importance.

Being visual:

We have 5 senses. Just by listening we are using one. If we are visual we will use 2 of our senses and this will help in our full attention. Always use presentations, post its, images in which we can all connect from the visual.

Tip: Before the meeting, hand out post its and a bookmark to each participant. Have them write their thoughts and paste them in the spaces provided for each discussion.

Types of meetings:

There are different types of meetings with differential characteristics that must be taken into account:

Daily: This is a tactical meeting for the exchange of tasks and requests and offers within the team. It should not last more than 15 minutes.

Weekly: This is a tactical meeting of the week’s priorities. It is good to connect it with a week-end closing and review complete and incomplete priorities. It should not last more than 30 minutes.

Strategy: These are used to establish medium-term plans. The facilitator in this type of meeting is fundamental.

Idea or brainstorming: These are those to create, to obtain ideas for future creations. It has its own rules and a different context than the previous ones.

Feedback: They are used to give feedback on specific issues. They require different care in order to take full advantage of the findings. It also has its own rules and it is important not to mix them with the previous ones.

With just a few of these points you can make a considerable change in the quality of your meetings. Try to implement some of them and little by little you will notice the difference. It will impact your business and your own team.

Do you have any other tips to share with us to improve the quality of meetings?

 

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