There are many stats about how much time we spend in meetings and how much of that time is wasted and we’ve all sat in meetings and wondered what on earth we were doing there. We have also been to beautifully organised, amazingly productive meetings.
Planning is of course key – so here are my 7P’s of mega-effective meetings – simple tips to make your meetings better.
- Plan – set your objectives – what do you want to achieve with this meeting? And what do you want the participants to get out of it? What do you want them to do or feel differently as a result of attending? Do you even need a meeting?
- Plan your programme – start with a list of all the topics you need to cover – break them down into short 20 minute time chunks. Include time for breaks and activities and use visual meeting techniques to keep the energy levels high. Plan in time for running over even if you don’t use it – no-one minds when a meeting finishes early!
- Invite the right people – start with the key people (check their availability before you set the date). Think about who could contribute their expertise to the topic – they may be from a different team or organisation.
- Don’t just invite people – promote your meeting – time is precious so tell them why they should attend and what they are going to get out of it. Add an RSVP by email or for bigger meetings set up a private event on Eventbrite.
- We all know what preparation prevents so prepare for the meeting.
- Make a list of everything you need to do and take.
- Help your participants prepare by sending amazing joining instructions 5 days before the event – include: how and when to get there, what to bring and what to wear, what will happen on the day, what they need to do to prepare, what will be expected of them, what the outcomes will be and how you will follow up after the event
- After all your preparation on the day production will be easy! Arrive early and set up. Make sure you know how to cool or heat the room, where lunch and refreshments will be, arrangements for fire alarms, can you lock the room if you leave it etc.
- Post meeting I always sit down immediately afterwards and ask myself ‘what would I do differently next time and how could I improve? It’s essential that you follow up immediately – send out any notes within 2 days maximum. If you need more time send a holding email. And keep in touch to follow up on actions or learning.