Have you ever stopped to analyse the effectiveness of your meetings? What kind of meeting culture prevails in your organisation?
Meetings often take up a significant proportion of your working week and can often zap energy and leave you feeling lacking.
To start changing the culture of meetings in your organisation encourage participants to prepare and think about the meeting before they arrive. Here are three tips to ensure your meetings are more effective and enjoyable:
As Stephen Covey advised “start with the end in mind” and be clear about your outcomes for the meeting. To get people thinking about the meeting beforehand be specific as to what you want them to contribute. Do this by capturing each agenda item in the form of a question:
“What or how do you think...?”
- “What do you think will be the impact of the training budget shortfall?”
- “How do you think we can improve engagement in the project team?”
Keep the meeting focused by reminding participants of the agenda questions whilst creating a sense of ease and space to explore the questions, free from rush.
To generate the best ideas and thinking during your meeting value the diversity in the room and create a space that sends out the message “you matter”. Ensure you only invite people who need to participate and then ensure you create opportunities for them to contribute. This can be achieved by subtle changes in your behaviour as chair, such as:
- Creating a sense of equality by giving everyone a chance to offer their thoughts in turn and whilst they are speaking give them attention, be interested and listen without interruption, respect their contribution without judgement.
- Opening the meeting positively by asking each person in turn to briefly share one aspect of what they think is working well in their part of the business or project.
Knowing everyone has a turn to contribute, without interruption, will create generative thinking, building on each others ideas to increase the effectiveness of the meeting and help overcome conflict.
When deciding who needs to participate in the meeting think about who will contribute the creativity, skills, experience and information required to take the meeting forward and then ensure they are given the opportunity to do so by creating an inclusive environment.
Close the meeting on a positive note and ensure people feel it was worth their attendance by valuing their specific contribution. Ask each participant in turn what went well during the meeting and what they appreciate about one another.
Implementing these three tips will have a profound effect on your meetings and the people who attend them, and when sustained over time will have a positive impact on the culture of your organisation.
If you are serious about increasing the effectiveness of meetings in your organisation, we would love to talk with you about how you can transform your meetings to ensure they are FIT for business.