6 Laws of Meeting Success

Welcome to our first ever guest post by Gemma from FindMyWorkspace. Here she shares simple ways on how to have more productive meetings, boiling it down into easy steps you can follow, whether you're meeting a client at a coworking space, or holding a company board meeting.

Have you ever struggled to keep your eyes open during a long, boring business update? Or have you ever left a conference room, feeling that you just wasted 3 hours of your time? 

In this virtual age, many organizations have come to rely on emails and instant messaging apps for their internal and external communication. 

However, meetings are still (and always will be) essential to a company for several reasons:

  • Face to face interaction can foster better teamwork and camaraderie among team members.
  • It provides an opportunity for people to communicate their plans and concerns in a clearer way.
  • Meetings help ensure that everyone is on the same page. 
  • It allows every attendee to speak up and get noticed for their contributions. 
  • Leaders can touch base, rally their troops and make them feel more supported through personal interaction.
  • If done correctly, meetings save time and money as matters can be discussed more efficiently and clearly. 
  • They can be a welcome ‘break’ for people who spend almost all their working hours buried in their computers and paperwork.
  • Meetings are opportunities for everyone to express themselves verbally, encouraging you to develop your communication and presentation skills.
  • They remind you that you are part of a team and an organization. 

A meeting eats up on every attendee’s working time. Before calling for one, it is best to ensure that it is the best way to discuss or update on an issue or project, and that you can keep the meeting brief, focused and worthwhile.

Here are the characteristics of a productive meeting:

1. There is a clear objective.

A well-established agenda is a must! It should be communicated to all attendees at least 24 hours in advance so everyone has the chance to prepare pertinent information and reports. 

Follow a template that clearly provides the main objective and then lists the sub-points to be discussed, as well as the chronological order of the topics to be covered. Information such as the names of the attendees, time, date and location of the meeting must also be included. 

2. Every attendee has something to contribute and learn.

Some companies implement a maximum number of attendees for each meeting. Your goal is that each person in the room becomes an active participant, instead of just being mere spectators. Even worse, too many attendees can lead to separate small group discussions during the meeting. 

Trim the number of attendees to the essential people to ensure that the meeting stays on track. 

Is there a magic number? Google offices allow a maximum of 10 attendees, while Amazon follows a creative 2-pizza rule: 2 whole pizzas must be enough for the attendees to munch on. 

3. It follows a schedule.

Starting and ending meetings on time show professionalism and respect to everyone involved. Waiting for latecomers will just encourage them to repeat their undesirable action and lead to delays in ending the meeting. 

If you want your team and your meetings to be highly productive, build a culture of valuing people’s time. 

Also consider the day of the week when you set the meeting as it can definitely affect the mood inside the conference room. Mondays, when people may still be having the ‘blues’  might not be a very good day for a meeting. Friday late afternoons, when employees may be excited for the clock to strike 5pm so they can start enjoying their time of partying or relaxation might make attendees restless during the meeting. 

4. Clear roles are assigned

Each meeting should have a: leader, facilitator, timekeeper and scribe (or minutes writer). Make sure that each person is clear on the responsibilities related to his role. 

For example, when do you want the timekeeper to call out the time? Is it every 15 minutes, 30 minutes or 1 hour? Do you want the scribe to write down everything that was said during the meeting- or just the more important points?

5. It is highly interactive 

A meeting should not be monopolized by one or two people only. It is expected that all attendees have their say during a meeting. 

You can also make it more fun by incorporating icebreakers or team building activities before starting on the more challenging topics. Sharing a laugh or a not-so-serious moment can ease the mood in the room and encourage openness and better communication.

6. There is follow-through

Never, ever finish a meeting without a clear follow-through plan: what needs to be done, who does what and the timeline.

Assign someone to email a copy of the minutes of the meeting along with a summary of the tasks that need to be done. 

The minutes may be emailed not just to the attendees but also to managers or other people who might need an update.

Consider also the duration of the meeting. A meeting with all the above characteristics but drags on too long might not be productive anymore. According to studies, people focus best in 45-minute increments. If you need to extend beyond 45 minutes, it would be best to take breaks in between to allow people to recharge.

Always start and end meetings on a positive note. Closing meetings in a deliberate and thoughtful way can positively impact the speed and motivation with which people follow through on the tasks assigned to them. 

About the author:

Gemma Reeves is a seasoned writer who enjoys creating helpful articles and interesting stories. She has worked with several clients across different industries such as advertising, online marketing, technology, healthcare, family matters, and more. She is also an aspiring entrepreneur who is engaged in assisting other aspiring entrepreneurs in finding the best office space for their business. 

Check out her company here: FindMyWorkspace 

Dave IdellComment