Ten Meeting Management Tips for Markedly Improved Productivity
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Many times what should be productive planning meetings turn into unproductive arguments or complete time-wasters. Sometimes, as the person leading the meeting, you can spend more time diffusing bickering or trying to get people to stay focused on the topic than you do cultivating productivity. A more conductive environment can be encouraged if a few management tips are kept in mind before, during, and after the meetings.
Publish an agenda
Make the purpose of the meeting clear, outline who should be there and what information they should bring.
Create an objective
Let everyone know what they need to have done by the end of the meeting. For example, if the meeting is for generating new ideas let everyone know that you need to come up with a set number of ideas by the end of the meeting.
Assign pre-meeting work
If there are specific things that individuals need to have done before the meeting, assign work for them to complete prior to the meeting. This will ensure that the proper information is available during the meeting.
Limit speaking time
If people end up straying off topic or using meeting time to air personal grievances, setting a time limit for everyone can help everyone stay focused. Colleagues will be more inclined to talk about their ideas/concerns/etc. instead of arguing with others if they know that they only have five minutes to get their point across regarding the work at hand.
Keep the meeting on topic
It is your job to keep everyone on task. If things are going astray, you need to stop what is going on and refocus everyone so the objective of the meeting can be reached.
Stop arguments right away
Bickering and finger pointing happen often at meetings where people feel they’re in competition with other departments or divisions. If there are hostile feelings during the meeting, nip them in the bud before things spiral out of control. Why? Because according to a report on Randstad F&P, in-fighting, particularly in meetings, is one of the leading causes of discontent in the workforce and low staff morale, leading to increased churn rates and the higher cost of hiring talents.
Create a follow-up plan
At the end of the meeting, use the last few minutes to create a follow up plan with everyone. Designating teams and team leaders to handle certain projects, setting deadline for projects, and discussing expectations are all things that can be done during this time.
Adhere to the follow-up plan
Check in with team leaders or teams to see how everyone is progressing after the first meeting. This will help keep everyone on task once the meeting has ended and the normal workload continues. This can also help identify any real roadblocks in a project.
Publish the minutes
By making the minutes of the meeting available either on the computer or as a print-out, you can help everyone remember what was said and how everyone agreed to proceed. This can also help keep enthusiasm about the task at hand high.
Hold everyone at the meeting accountable for their work. If they are supposed to complete something by a deadline established during the last meeting and they don’t, make sure there are appropriate actions taken to make sure the same doesn’t happen again.
If productive meetings are rare where you work, give this process time to work. Things may not run perfectly the first time around, but after a few runs you should notice your productivity going up dramatically. And if in doubt, check out the comprehensive guidelines section here on MyManagementGuide.