Meetings are an integral part of business and have the potential to be a powerful tool but are often misunderstood. Have you ever sat in a long, tiring and unproductive meeting?
Unfortunately, most professionals will have felt the pain of a poorly run meeting. A recent survey by eShare, found that office workers spend an average of 10 hours 42 minutes per week preparing for and attending meetings 4.4 meetings. 2.6 of these meetings are deemed unnecessary and equate to an annual cost of over £191 billion for UK businesses.
To combat this, the meeting facilitator should take actions to make the business meeting relevant, effective and successful, including management before, during and after the allotted time. The Grand Hotel in York are experts in hosting effective and productive meetings and have shared their 6 top tips to ensure you can set your meetings up for success:
Meetings are often set up to fail if the only intention is to discuss a broad topic. A bullet point agenda distributed to attendees in advance of the meeting (at least 1 day) helps to ensure that the correct preparation is carried out in advance, as well as steering the meeting and helping it to stay on track and reaching the end goal.
Time is precious. Ensure that technology, such as Wi-Fi, is correctly set up and tested in advance of the meeting. Not only do tech glitches waste time, they can make you lose your trail of thought which can be hard to pick back up when you’re on a roll.
Important, business critical decisions are often made in meetings. Make sure you schedule meetings at a time when people are most productive. Research suggests that morning meetings are significantly more effective. The closer to 5pm they get, the more the mind wonders to thinking about what’s for dinner.
As the organiser, you are in control. All eyes need to be on you, so you should arrange the room so that all attendees can see yourself and any screens or props required.
- Tea Breaks
There is much debate on the average person’s attention span before the mind wanders. Although it does depend on the situation, research by The Independent suggests that in a meeting scenario, people struggle to maintain concentration for more than 15 minutes at a time. What does that mean for your meeting? You may wish to consider the below tips to ensure engagement levels are maintained throughout the meeting:
- Audience participation to engage and confirm the content is understood
- Keeping time-slots short and sharp. Distributing materials or slides in advance allows for you to cover only the key, useful information
- Schedule frequent short tea breaks to revitalise attendees
- Takeaway Actions
Your meeting has a purpose and the points discussed need to be recorded. Take minutes throughout the and keep a note of who is going to do what along with any key information. Once the meeting concludes, you can recap on the minutes before writing them up and circulating to the attendees; this will remind attendees to follow up on their action to be able to move forward with the end-goal.