Most people hate meetings. Many meetings are long, counter-productive, don’t get anywhere, and nothing gets done.
But they aren’t supposed to be like that. Meetings should be to the point. Meetings should be about getting together the right people to make the right decisions, and follow them through. Meetings should drive your business, not drive it under.
So here are 5 reasons you’ll LOVE your next meeting.
Meeting without an agenda is like shopping without a list. If you don’t know what you’re going to talk about, how will you prepare beforehand?
Make sure you have an agenda ready – not just for you, but for the entire meeting. Are you going to talk about the new product launch? Then your agenda needs to cover a quick overview of the product, marketing options, website changes, and client updates. Talking about opening a new office branch? Then you need to cover logistics, protocol, and new employees.
Pro tip – send the agenda out to the meeting participants 3 days BEFORE the meeting, so they have time to prepare.
When you’re covering the agenda, tasks suddenly start popping up.For instance, take the product launch from the first example. What website changes need to be done? Is there going to be a new design for the launch? Do new landing pages need to be designed? What marketing efforts are we talking about anyway? Have they been decided on?
Make sure you note each task as it is created. This makes sure that once the meeting is concluded, you’ll know exactly what needs to be done, and how to make sure that the next meeting isn’t spent on wondering what exactly you decided on the previous meeting.
3. Parking Lot
Long meetings aren’t effective meetings. Why do meetings stretch out? Well, for a number of reasons, but one of the main ones is that people tend to drift off topic. Your agenda needs to cover the new website pages? You’ll find that two people start discussing whether more people use Chrome or Internet Explorer, and what the site should be optimized for. Talking about the new street signs you want to put up? Someone will start to talk about Graham St., and how it should be renamed to Graham Blvd.
Which is what you have the parking lot for. The parking lot is where you put topics that should be discussed afterwards in private, or have a different meeting set up for them. Topics that aren’t strictly relevant to the subjects at hand, and that don’t need to be covered to make this meeting more effective.
Pro tip – Don’t nip all conversations in the bud straight away. Sometimes it’s good to let people vent for a few minutes, before steering the conversation back in the right direction.
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. And what happens in a lot of meetings, stays within the meetings. Decisions, tasks, items discussed, notes – not everybody writes it down, no one remembers five minutes after the meeting if you decided to USE Comic Sans in your next brochure or decided NOT to use Comics Sans, and the results that come from these meetings look as much.
While running your meeting, write down everything. Write down the tasks as they are created (‘ask the designer what font to use’), write down the decisions (‘Comic Sans is the best font to use in this case’), and write down the notes (‘Maybe we should try Helvetica instead?’). Once the meeting is over, send all the participants the meeting minutes. That way, everybody knows exactly what was decided, and what needs to be done to move things forwards.
5. Assign Tasks
When you write down tasks – like, ask for quotes on park benches to find the lowest price – someone has to do it. Instead of waiting until after the meeting to decide who does each task (which in some cases, can require a whole new meeting), assign each task as they pop up. A simple ‘and who is going to do this?’ question is usually enough, and once you’ve asked this a few times, people will start volunteering to take the tasks, making your job much easier 🙂
All these reasons, and more, are exactly why you should start using MeetingKing – the tool to make your meetings easier, and much more efficient