Everyone, regardless of branch or sector, has meetings. Do you ever ask yourself during a meeting: What am I doing here? Or Why do I have to participate in this meeting? Nothing is more annoying than being in a meeting, but not knowing why you were invited to it. It is important to know what makes a meeting ‘good’ or ‘bad’, but also how you can improve this. So, that is exactly the goal of this article!
Why do we actually have meetings? Meetings are a strong means of coming to a decision. Nowadays, too many meetings are held to update colleagues or to listen in. In a bad case, it is about periodic meetings that keep coming back. It feels more like a routine than actually seeing the value of meetings. Meetings give the possibility to react to each other. Everyone can have an opinion about a proposal, and during the meetings, this can be enounced.
It is the intention that you join a meeting if you are involved in the decision-making process. Is this not the case? Skip the meeting partially or completely. If you are the organizer of the meeting, keep that in mind when sending the invitations to the meeting. Also, don’t make the meetings too long. The longer the meeting, the bigger the chance that the concentration of the participants is gone before the end. Keep the meetings as short as possible. Are you halfway through the topics, but the time is up? Stop the meeting and organize a follow-up meeting for the rest of the topics.
Organizer or participant, it doesn’t matter. I have added a few tips that can help you make meetings more efficient.
Deciding the goal of a meeting (no goal = no meeting)
A meeting without a goal can go in all directions. Tactic goals will be combined with strategic and administrative goals. The goal of the meeting will be unclear. The concentration of the participants will decrease and the meeting takes more time than necessary. By determining the goal of the meeting beforehand, you will limit what can be discussed during this meeting. The meeting will become more efficient and the participants won’t stray.
Always have an agenda (no agenda = no meeting)
Just like deciding the goal of a meeting, it is important to make the agenda of the meeting beforehand. A more clear structure is brought into the meeting with this. Not only for yourself but also for all the participants. You also give the participants the chance to prepare for the points to discuss, instead of improvising on the spot. This preparation ensures that the meeting does not start with sending information, which then needs to be processed and an opinion formed about it. Everyone has read themselves into the topics and has their opinions about them, so the meetings are all about sharing their opinions and starting discussions. This way, less time is needed for meetings.
During the meeting, action points are created. During the meeting, these action points are clear for everyone. However, the next day it is a little vague who was responsible for what task. That’s why it is important to create an action list that consists of:
- What action needs to be taken;
- Who is responsible for the action;
- When the action needs to be completed.
Delete all the meetings from your agenda
If it all really becomes too much, you can always consider this radical option. It sounds like a weird step, but it is one of our best practices! By deleting all your meetings, you will also delete all the unnecessary meetings. The important meetings will come back. In the end, you will have an agenda of only the important meetings.