Meetings are a common occurrence in the workplace. And, they are usually looked upon with the same excitement as a visit to the dentist. If the mention of a meeting makes you cringe or scream out of boredom, you’re not alone. Whatever your thoughts are about meetings, throughout your working career you will definitely sit in or lead your fair share of meetings. But, meetings don’t have to be boring or unproductive. When it’s your turn to lead your next department or team meeting, keep these common mistakes in mind and make sure you do the opposite to save your co-workers from another painfully bad and unproductive meeting wasting their time.
I don’t need an agenda for every meeting. Don’t bother with an agenda if you want to have an infective meeting that doesn’t stay on track. But, if you want a good meeting, having an agenda is a must. In order to get where you want to go, you have to know where you’re going. Come to the meeting prepared with how it’s going to flow and what topics need to be discussed by the team. This will help keep the meeting focused, give it direction, and help it begin and end on time.
It’s not necessary to schedule a meeting on the calendar. Your co-workers will just remember that you want to meet with them in two weeks, won’t they? Wrong. It’s important that you use Outlook or software your company uses to book your next meeting on every attendee’s calendar. If you just send attendees an e-mail alerting them of the meeting, there’s a good chance it will get lost in their inbox and never added to a calendar. This means you might have co-workers forget to attend the meeting. Always be sure to get the meeting on their calendar so that they can be reminded of it.
The meeting room is always available. Don’t assume there will be a space available for you and your team when it comes time to meet. When you’re creating the meeting and inviting attendees, be sure to check for conference room availability. Go ahead and reserve that room for the correct day and time. Include yourself as the contact person in case any questions or conflicts arise.
The attendees know what the meeting topic’s about. It’s important to remember that people can’t read your mind, so they don’t know what you’re thinking. No one likes to attend a meeting where they don’t know what will be discussed. When scheduling your meeting and creating the invitation for your co-workers, let them know in advance what the focus of the meeting will be. Also, let them know if they need to bring anything specific to the meeting or if they have a specific task to perform at the meeting or beforehand.
Everyone has to be in attendance. You’ve probably heard the phrase, “the more the merrier,” but in meeting situations this is not always true. When you have too many people attending a meeting it can turn into a nightmare to manage. When you schedule a meeting, keep in mind that not everyone has to or needs to attend. Only invite those individuals who absolutely need to be involved in the discussion. This will help you get the greatest outcome out of your meeting time and your co-workers will appreciate you for valuing their time.
It’s OK to start the meeting a few minutes late. What’s just a few minutes going to matter? Just know that those minutes are valuable. When you’re leading a meeting, always start on time. When someone sets a meeting, it’s important to show up and start on time – not five or 10 minutes late. When meetings don’t start when they’re supposed to, they usually don’t end when they should either. Time is a precious tool for many these days, and there is usually not a lot to spare for late meetings.
Meetings don’t have to be horrible. You can break the “awful meeting” mentality by being great at leading your meetings. Remember, you don’t have to lead a meeting because your boss has always led them a certain way. Everyone leads differently, but follow these tips along with the 5 Ws of Successful Meeting Management to showcase your great leadership abilities and be the meeting manager your workplace can’t live without.
I especially like your tip on keeping the meeting as small as possible. Having extra people increases the chances of people with lackluster enthusiasm being present. That sort of non-interest is infectious and counterproductive.