Many tips are available on productive meeting, I want to mention that I have found very much helpful. We all need to work on making meetings productive. Because of lack of preparation or committment or something else, meetings become waste of time as desired outcome is not achieved.
- Did you accept/reject the meeting notice? I have seen that people fail to respond to meeting notices, it just sits in mailbox. Is it some kind of laziness, or lack of awareness? It is good practice to respond to any meeting note – if not sure about attending, just say it’s tentative; if unable to attend meeting, decline it with briefly mention that there is conflict or some other reason. There might be cases that you feel that you are not the appropriate person to discuss that topic, let organizer know and suggest who should be invited instead. Organized people respond to questions/meetings promptly and on time. It is everyone’s duty to make the meeting productive if we want organization we work for to be efficient.
- Only invite people you really need to get the outcome. Talk to your boss or team member about who should be included in the meeting, this way you may get some names that you could have not thought of.
- Timing and duration is very important. Meetings in the morning between 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM seem most productive to me personally.
- Who is audience? Meeting with Business or IT folks or higher management require you prepare your subject with different perspective; higher management is not interested in nitty-gritty details of IT processes; business may be interested in how they will benefit from it and IT folks may want to know about the processes or approaches, for example.
- Prepare for the meeting. Organizer should publish the agenda and provide necessary info beforehand. Make sure meeting room can accommodate the number of people you have invited. Check for all the aids. Handouts can be given to attendees prior to meeting begins. Give only papers that are needed for discussion, printed on both sides.
- Arrive on time; its not only for organizer to be in the meeting room on time; imagine if 10 people waste 5 minutes waiting for some critical resource, 50 productive minutes are lost.
- Follow the agenda; many times side conversations start or focus is diverted to another issue. If something important is discovered, take a note of the item and let people know that another discussion will be held to address it.
- Keep moving – if you do not know something, admit it. You can provide info later. Ask for anyone else who can comment on the question you are not sure to answer.
- Keep positive attitude; participate in discussion; listen up what speaker says with open mind, if not clear about anything – ask to clarify; if you are aware of the facts that are misrepresented, do not attack the speaker instead correct the speaker candidly; do not interrupt the meeting or start blame game. Stay cool and calm.
- Meeting minutes are essential. Do not forget to record the meeting minutes, send it to all the attendees. Document all the decisions made. You can have someone from your team take notes during the meeting. People generally forget about the decisions made or conclusions of the meeting after few days. You may be referring to document later.
- At the end of meeting, recap – what info is captured; what tasks are assigned and to whom; what issues are still pending; are there any further meetings scheduled to continue the discussion.
- Keep the promise. Send the information you promised to provide in the meeting.
- Respect other people’s time. Thank all the attendees with smile after the meeting is over.
- How did you do? Check with your peer about your performance and success of the meeting, if you were an organizer. Ask what should be improved. You can give genuine feedback to others to help them improve their meetings.
What is your opinion about meetings in your “office space”?
Thank you for reading and have productive meetings!