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How to run a productive meeting

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Stephen Brown Business Professionals, Manufacturing & Production, Information Technology...

If you want to get things done in meetings then follow these ten simple steps and watch your productivity soar like an eagle.

1. Only invite people who need to be there

Nothing kills a meeting more than the attendance of people who will not contribute or add value. Worse still, out of boredom, these attendees can actually hijack your meeting with a different agenda.

2. Send out your agenda beforehand

List the items to be discussed, attendees, precise place and time and the mission and objectives of your meeting. By showing attendees up front what the time will be used for they can start thinking about solutions, ideas and outcomes. Also let your attendees know when the meeting will be finished by.

3. Set the tone

If it’s a pleasant topic try and make it light-hearted for fun, if the meeting calls for being creative and you have time then run an exercise to warm people up or have Lego or something similar for attendees to play with to get their creative juices unblocked and flowing.

4. Remove unnecessary distractions

Out of respect to fellow attendees and to make the meeting run quickly and effectively; ban mobile phones, have them placed in a box or basket at the door.

5. Appoint a chairperson

It is best that this person is not involved in the bulk of the discussion but it purely there to see the smooth running of the meeting and to ensure everyone gets a fair say.

6. Have a note taker

Again, ideally someone with little personal input but required to keep track of the main items of discussion.

7. Summarise

Finish with agreed (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, Time bound) ‘SMART’ objectives for attendees to take away.

8. Be thankful

Show your appreciation for your attendees showing up and giving you their time.

9. Stay on point

You wrote an agenda, now stick to it. Otherwise attendees will think you got them there on false pretences or you are wasting their time with irrelevance.

10. Avoid repetition

Once you have completed a point on your agenda, move on and don’t prevaricate.

Remember, if your meeting lasts for one hour and you have 8 attendees, you have just spent a full working day for one person. Known as ‘man hours’ you can soon see the actual cost of a meeting, why it is important to run them productively and with only the most relevant attendees.