One thing most small to medium sized businesses have in common is a perception that attending meetings can be a huge waste of time which could be better spent elsewhere. According to small business consulting experts, however, if you structure your meetings properly and stick to some basic guidelines, you’ll discover that your productiveness during and after meetings can soar.
Have An Agenda And Let Everyone Know What It Is
Before any meeting, draw up an outline of what topics you need to address versus what topics you’d like to address. Send this initial agenda to everyone who will be attending the meeting, stressing which topics are priorities. Attendees can then arrive with specific meeting goals in mind that are in line with your plans.
Ask participants to bring any urgent requests to your attention prior to the meeting so that you can revise the agenda if need be. Many small business consulting companies suggest that you send revised agendas out a few hours before the meeting to refresh everyone’s memory. Be sure you also state what materials to bring so that no one is blind-sided when the meeting begins.
Small Business Consulting Firms Stress The Importance Of Sticking To Your Goals
Don’t let anyone go off on a tangent that will distract others from the primary goals of the meeting. Some small business consulting firms note that this tends to happen when all the participants in a meeting know each other well and the meetings are informal in structure. If someone is wandering off topic, suggest that their concerns would be better addressed in another meeting at a later date, and steer the conversation back to the items on your agenda. (Make sure you schedule that related meeting with the employee as soon as possible.)
To stay on topic, the meeting members should all have the information (graphs, charts, reports) you requested for discussion; if they don’t, table that topic until the required materials are available. It’s a waste of time to discuss an item if not everyone has all the pertinent information at hand.
Table Topics For A Later Date If Necessary
If there are four topics to be covered in a two hour meeting, don’t let any single topic drag on. Be cognizant of the time so that you aren’t still arguing about your first topic at the end of the meeting time. If you can’t resolve the issue in the allotted time, be willing to table it for a later date so that you can focus on any remaining, urgent topics. Small business consulting experts know that clearing three things off your calendar and rescheduling one for a later date is much more efficient than gnawing on a single bone for two hours and not getting your important items completed.
Follow Up Is Critical
Be sure to summarize in writing the gist of your meeting while it’s still fresh in your mind. Include a bulleted list of actions needed along with due dates and those responsible for completing each one. Send this summary to all attendees so that everyone is on the same page. Small business consulting firms also suggest you include an open invitation for all participants to follow up with you if anything in the meeting was unclear or if they have questions so that you can address them before your next meeting.
For more information on how to effectively manage your company’s meetings efficiently, visit our website at www.makariosconsulting.com or call 610-380-8735.
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