05 Jun 2012

How to run an effective meeting

How do you make sure that your meetings are effective? Tell us below It was interesting to note last month that PricewaterhouseCoopers Australia reportedly banned internal meetings between 10am and 4pm – declaring instead that that time be reserved for client work. Staff were also reportedly asked to ensure that meetings had purpose and to remain conscious of the time commitments of those involved. Implicit in this instruction is the acknowledgement that all meetings have a cost. This begs the question, how can we limit the costs of meetings by running them more effectively? Here are a few suggestions from a quick office poll: 1. Decide whether you need a meeting at all. All meetings should begin with a question of benefit versus cost. What outcomes is the meeting seeking, and will those outcomes be worth it? Is there another, better way that these objectives can be more efficiently met – whether via email, telephone, or an internal collaboration tool? 2. Let others prepare. Provide an agenda to all participants before a meeting takes place. That way, they can prepare beforehand – making the meeting more productive and more informed. 3. Give your meeting a structure. Explain the meeting’s structure before it starts, including when it aims to finish and approximately how long will be spent on each topic. You might not stick to it, but it will help to keep things on track. 4. Include everyone. As per point 1, you invited everyone for a reason. If you’re the meeting’s chair, make sure that everyone has their say. 5. Make use of the meeting afterwards. Many of the benefits of a meeting occur after it’s been held. Send follow-ups after the meeting with action points for each member. Spend a moment to judge the meeting’s effectiveness and consider how you might make it better next time. Any tips for running a good meeting? Share your ideas below.