20 Nov 2022| ONPASSIVE
The Imperatives to Planning & Keeping Meetings on Track
Meetings for business and professional purposes are a necessary component of the communication system of any organization. While some consider meetings tedious, fruitless, and useless exercises, others see them as chances to share information and get things done.
Execution and preparation work together to make a huge difference. Also, professional meetings don’t necessarily need to be held in a physical location where everyone can see each other.
Instead, various technical tools enable organizing virtual meetings where participants are dispersed around the globe. Virtual meetings are formally planned events when participants connect online from different geographical places.
A business meeting or a professional meeting is a gathering of two or more persons for decision-making or to discuss the goals and operations of the organization. Most business meetings are held in person in an office, but with the development of video conferencing tools, attendees can join a business conference from any location.
Here are the six categories of business meetings that are most frequently held:
Modern businesses must examine their data to verify that their time, money, and workforce are being spent effectively as organizations focus more on efficiency, productivity, and profitability. One of the biggest opportunities is to evaluate how business meetings are conducted.
You must learn how to manage time properly and how to make everyone in a meeting feel as though their voices are being heard if you want to maintain your sessions productively. People will value your unusual talent for making meetings enjoyable.
The following are a few fundamental ideas that will help managers properly plan and keep their meetings on track:
A meeting can permanently be closed early, but some attendees want to chat. And occasionally, when the chit-chatters know that the meeting will continue for an hour, they will speak continuously to pass the time. Alternatively, people might feel more at ease bringing up an unconnected subject when the meeting still has plenty of time.
As you facilitate more meetings, you’ll understand how long a meeting should last based on who will be there and what will be addressed.
Although a 30-minute meeting may seem tiny, the time constraint helps to keep attendees focused and on goal. If more time is required, another session can be scheduled.
Have you ever left a meeting without contributing or even being given a task? Have you ever questioned the purpose of your initial invitation to a meeting?
You might have been invited by the facilitator out of politeness so that you might keep informed. However, a memo is a much more practical and effective way to educate individuals about department or company news. Invite only those who will directly contribute to the discussion at hand.
Create your agenda around the main theme to allow as many people to participate for as long as feasible throughout the meeting. You will have two different groups of people in the room if your agenda tries to cover two entirely unrelated projects, and each group will be irritated at having to sit there when the discussion becomes unrelated to them. Call two separate meetings to order instead.
The agenda should be specific about the topics that are to be covered in the meeting and how much time will be assigned to each one. Spend no more than 15 minutes on any topic if there are three key topics to discuss in an hour-long discussion. This will facilitate a nice pace for the meeting.
Set up a second meeting to focus exclusively on that topic if it turns out that one subject has to be explored in greater detail. Don’t forget to provide participants with a copy of the agenda in advance so they can plan accordingly.
As the meeting’s facilitator, you might believe that an item on the agenda has been fully addressed and go on to the next subject without pausing. Others in the meeting, though, might have reservations, worries, or queries.
While it’s important to encourage participation at meetings, some attendees can be reluctant to speak up. Ask explicitly if anyone has anything else to add before moving on to the next issue to ensure everyone has a chance to speak.
If the current topic needs to be discussed in more detail in a subsequent meeting, indicate that it is time to move on to the next item on the agenda and say that you will arrange a subsequent session as soon as possible to do so. Request is written questions from attendees for a future discussion.
You can always rent a conference space if you don’t routinely host meetings, or your office is too tiny. You shouldn’t have your session in a public place with distracting sights and sounds. To block out outside sounds, have the conference inside a room with the door closed. You might even need to draw the blinds if there is a crowded scene outside.
Encourage attendees not to bring or use laptops, tablets, or smartphones. Using a pen and paper is the best method for taking notes since it eliminates the temptation to surf various websites, send text messages, or check notifications.
As the facilitator, you will be preoccupied with controlling the meeting flow and ensuring everyone stays on topic. It is advisable to keep a record of information, including questions and responses, for accountability and future use. For the same reason, action items should also be put in writing.
A participant should be assigned to take notes. Pull in someone else to observe and take notes if all of your participants tend to become very interested.
For convenient access, the meeting minutes should be typed out and kept with a copy of the agenda. These notes can update a crucial participant who was unable to attend. The meeting minutes can also be sent out as a for your information memo every week to the entire department.
Make sure to focus on potential solutions rather than the problems most of the time when you organize a meeting to discuss the issues and solutions. Once an answer has been agreed upon, it should be divided into manageable tasks, given to specific individuals, and given a deadline or time range.
Whatever the action item, it should be approached in the same way. A team effort is required to prepare an event or complete a project successfully. Tasks are best assigned at meetings.
It will be helpful to circulate the meeting minutes later as a reminder of who has to do what and when. When the follow-up meeting comes around, nobody can say they were unaware of what was expected.
Keeping everyone on task during a meeting is one of the most challenging tasks. Focusing during a session should be simpler if you adhere to all the other rules. However, some will inevitably be distracted or find it difficult to return to work after a long weekend.
It’s your responsibility as the facilitator to bring someone back on track when they go off topic, start babbling and won’t stop, or start chatting excessively with their neighbor about something completely irrelevant. Maintaining the meeting’s focus while remaining diplomatically assertive will prevent unnecessary office drama. Prepare some phrases to get you through it, such as “This sounds like an exciting concept.
Business meetings play a crucial role in collaborations and sharing information. However, place primary focus on priority tasks to facilitate better discussions. You’ll be well on your way to wasting less time and accomplishing more if you properly plan, get everyone on the same page, and keep track of your meetings for them to be more effective.
Follow the tips and tactics discussed in this article to organize and keep track of your professional meetings effortlessly and effectively.
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