You see a team meeting on your calendar and your mind automatically starts coming up with ideas on how you might be able to get out of this one. Maybe, you have another meeting or a call during that time? Do you have to leave early? Maybe, you have a personal appointment? Nope, you have to go.
If you are the organizer of company meetings, your job isn’t enviable. As a general rule, people dread meetings. They eat up time, cause additional work, and often drag on longer than necessary.
What if you could have a reputation for running great meetings that are efficient and productive? Here are ten tips to get you headed in that direction:
1. One word: Agenda
Your meeting agenda should have the following components: a start time, finish time, host, note-taker, required attendees, optional attendees, location, purpose, and an objective or necessary outcome. You should also send an invitation or calendar invite to your meeting, being sure to locate a time when everyone (or most people) is available. Lastly, make an effort to give at least one day of advanced notice so attendees can prepare.
2. The Two Pizza Rule
This one doesn’t refer to how much food to serve at your meeting, but keep in mind that offering food at your meeting is never a bad idea. Instead, the pizza rule references the notion that if your meeting invite list has more people on it than two pizzas can feed, there are too many people coming to your meeting. If there are a large number of people in attendance but only a few people speaking, others can get frustrated, become distracted, or feel that their feedback isn’t being heard. Consider sub-committee meetings or better yet, send a recap to those who need to be in the loop, but do not need to directly participate. They’ll love you for it.
3. Start with some fun
Break the ice by having everyone answer a question at the beginning of the meeting. This breaks up the “work, work, work” mindset and gets people talking. Need ideas for the questions? Check a list of ideas.
4. Power down
Put a box with a lid in the center of the table and ask everyone to place their phone inside of it. Explain that although it may be painful, this practice will actually expedite the meeting because everyone will be fully present. It also puts everyone on an even playing field and increases concentration.
5. Hit the road
While a conference room is an obvious choice for your meeting, consider holding it in a different place on occasion. Consider locations like an outside picnic area, the cafeteria, a training classroom, or an open space. Want to really shake things up? Take a walk through a nearby park!
6. Got snacks?
Remember how we mentioned that offering food is never a bad idea? Well, here’s your chance. Offer some nutrition bars, fruit, bottled drinks or other treats to participants if your meeting is longer than 30 minutes long. It’s a nice way to break up the day and nurture the body.
7. Stop means stop
Don’t go over the scheduled time. Be the person whose meetings start and end on time. This can be challenging, but crafting a realistic agenda will help. End the meeting by thanking participants, assigning them action items, and then parting ways. No one likes the meeting that never ends or post-meeting lingerers.
8. Avoid huge PowerPoint presentations
And while we’re at it, avoid lengthy presentations in general. These are meeting killers. If you need the group to receive and retain information, provide it in a compelling and digestible format like an infographic-style handout or a web link that can be accessed later.
9. Offer a door prize
Remember that box of smartphones? Pull one out at random to select the winner. The prize doesn’t have to be anything fancy. One idea that goes over well is something fun that can be displayed on the winner’s desk – something that might generate discussion and intrigue. Ideas can include a Rubik’s Cube, Magic 8 Ball, company branded item, bobblehead or some other fun trinket. If all else fails, a gift card, candy bar, energy bar or other small token is sure to make an impact.
10. Recap, recap, recap
After the meeting, prepare a brief recap and email it to all attendees (as well as anyone else who needs to be aware of the outcome). This practice solidifies assignments, understandings, and next steps. It also serves as a reference point in case there are any questions at a later date.
If you wish to make your meetings even more comfortable, consider updating your conference room tables and chairs. To make your meetings even more efficient, you also might want to add a concealed whiteboard for brainstorming sessions. When you’re ready to make the most of your in-office meetings, contact Office Furniture EZ. We can help you refresh everything from your conference rooms to your primary office space.