We are sure at some point someone has rolled their eyes at you, sighed and muttered 'well that was another meeting that could have been an email'. We all know that feeling too well, the feeling of 2 hours of your life wasted in a meeting that doesn't appear to have achieved anything. Meetings like this are not only a waste of time, they are frustrating, demotivating and unproductive.
Set the Agenda
The key is collaboration. If your attendees are unsure of the purpose of the meeting, they will inevitably come unprepared, or perhaps not bother to attend at all! The meeting must have a purpose and a goal, and everyone needs to be aware of this. The agenda must also be set prior to the meeting and shared will all attendees. This gives everyone a chance to prepare, come armed with necessary information, and ready to contribute.
Think about timing
Meetings should have a set timeframe and these must be followed. If a meeting is scheduled to take an hour it must be an hour. Don't start late just because you are waiting on someone to attend, this is not productive for the rest of the attendees who also have busy schedules. Ensure your agenda has timings for each point and the chair should keep the meeting on track.
The most effective meetings are when attendees leave feeling they have a clear direction and defined goals. The key to this is creating actions throughout the meeting. This ensures that the attendees are clear on what tasks they are set and when these tasks need to be completed by. If there are no actions, this suggests the meeting was a waste of time!
An effective meeting is all about collaborative working and contribution by attendees at all stages, including before, during and afterwards.