Six Tips To Leading A More Productive Meeting

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Out of 11 million meetings occurring in the U.S. each day, a third are unproductive...

There is nothing more trying than a futile meeting. Not only is it time-consuming and costly, but a fruitless meeting says a lot about your leadership. Your ability to run a meeting well is a direct reflection of your executive talents. Leaders have it tough already, battling the stigma placed on the dreaded office meeting, so it is important that you maintain meaningful and productive meetings at your company. As lackluster as most tend to be, they are still an integral part of the organization. However, for a meeting to be effective, the preparation must take place way in advance. Improve productivity in your next meeting with these simple tips:

1. Define the Purpose

You should always have a purpose, or a reason for which the meeting is called. Determining the purpose allows you to set the tone and direction for which way the meeting will go. Furthermore, it provides a guideline for the agenda, as well as who should attend and the specific methods to take when making decisions.

2. Pre-meeting Communication

Delegate an ample amount of time beforehand going over the issues up for discussion. Then, decided whether or not these concerns can be easily addressed through a less demanding platform, such as Email. Far too often valuable time is lost on meetings that could have been successfully handled through simpler forms of communication.

3. Stick to an Agenda

Without an agenda, the purpose of the meeting becomes askew. People begin to fill in space with inane chatter about issues, many times having absolutely nothing to do with the meeting itself. Help prepare your staff by circulating the agenda in advance. Also, be mindful of other people’s schedules by beginning and ending the meeting on time.

4. Attendees

Meetings are not for everyone. There are always those exceptions, however in most cases, inviting too many people brings on a surge of chaos which leads to an unproductive meeting. It is important to figure out who needs to be there and for what reasons. With this knowledge, you can then design the agenda the way you see fit.

5. Focus

Limit the usage of mobile phones, computers, PDAs and alike. Stress the importance of focus and demand full attention from your attendees.

6. Encourage Participation

Ask each attendee to prepare a solution to any one issue on the agenda. Begin the meeting by reading each contribution aloud. Not only will this assure you that the agenda has been reviewed and read, but it creates a great deal of innovation and discussion as well.