Meetings are a vital part of everyday work-life. From important, high-pressure client meetings to periodic socials or team meetings, they are an essential part of workplace collaboration. Over the last 18-24 months, the development of the COVID-19 pandemic has moved meetings out of meeting rooms and into the digital space. This drastic change has led many to re-evaluate how they run their meetings and think about ways to host more constructive and effective meetings. In this article, we share our top eight tips for hosting an effective meeting.
It can sometimes feel as though the more promotions we get, the more progression we achieve, the more meetings we have to attend. The majority of employees find that too many meetings actually hinders their productivity, so it is important to be efficient and effective when refining your hosting skills. Whether you frequently have to host meetings or you simply want to improve, follow these eight top tips.
1. Define the meeting objective
Before you start planning for your meeting, ask yourself the following question — “Why are we having this meeting?”. It is important to fully understand what you are trying to achieve from the meeting and how success will be measured. Is this meeting a general brainstorming, a client meeting or a training presentation? Without a clear goal, your meeting won’t be effective — it’s as simple as that.
Once you have your objective, it should also make it easier to define your tone (informal vs formal) and what success will look like. You should ideally come away from your meeting being able to tell if your meeting has been a success and if you have got what you needed.
2. Share your meeting agenda
No one likes surprises at work, and the same goes for business meetings. People want to know what they have been invited to, and what the point of them spending “x” hours of their time attending is. Therefore, it’s a good idea to include an agenda in your meeting invitation. This will inform attendees of your expectations and help keep the entire meeting on course.
3. Keep it punctual
Punctuality is important! According to The Independent, it’s estimated staff who arrive late to work cost the economy £9 billion each year. If you are late for your meeting, then you are responsible for not just wasting your own time, but everyone else’s too.
Punctuality is important because time is money, and people have busy schedules. Obviously, it is crucial to arrive or start the Zoom call on time, but it is also important to finish when you said you would.
4. Invite the right people
Once you know the objective of the meeting, the next step is to figure out who makes the guest list. It is important to avoid the temptation of inviting everyone you can think of. To be efficient and effective, it is important to only invite those who have been heavily involved in the project/campaign. By keeping your meeting numbers to a minimum, you will see better results.
5. Consider location
Millions of people work for global corporations, who frequently liaise with colleagues and teams around the world. Not only does this mean that you can’t enjoy a face-to-face introduction, but it also means there is the difficulty of navigating different time zones. Make sure you coordinate with teams around the world to find a time that suits each attendee.
On the other hand, if you are hosting your meeting in person, it is important to consider the location for another set of factors:
- Is the space large enough for all the attendees?
- Is it set up with all the equipment and technology you need (think presentations, lighting, etc.)?
- Is the meeting space that you have chosen conducive to those lightbulb moments?
Take these into consideration, and you should find the perfect space and time to run an effective meeting.
6. Lights camera action
Throughout the pandemic, we have become used to being in front of the camera and talking to each other through video conferencing software. Although the majority of employees prefer in-person meetings, they aren’t always possible in today’s world, and therefore video conferencing is the answer. You can still generate a more personal and productive approach by asking each attendee to keep their cameras on throughout the meeting. This just means that you’ll need to change out of your pyjamas.
7. Embrace technology
There is a lot more to meetings these days than a poorly-prepared presentation. Technology is hugely important if you want to host a successful and effective meeting, and there are countless apps and tools to help you. When it comes to virtual meetings, ensure you know how to use your video communication software and invest some time getting to know the presentation program that your company provides.
One of the best ways to execute an effective in-person meeting is with the use of a meeting room booking system. This software allows you to manage and book any designated meeting rooms within your company’s office or workplace. If your business doesn’t have intelligent workplace management software, it might be time to invest.
8. Review next steps and actions
You have done it; you have hosted a successful and highly effective meeting. There is just one last thing before you let everyone go. It is very important that each attendee leaves the meeting either having helped achieve the objectives of the meeting or with clear and actionable tasks. At the end of the meeting, quickly review what has been accomplished and what you need from people.
By following these tips, you can start to sharpen your meeting-host expertise and begin to refine this essential business skill.