Make the Most of Your Meetings
As a manager you don’t have a lot of time to spare. Your cashier needs to ask you a question, your inventory guy needs a shipment signed and confirmed, your accountant is asking you for an expense report from five years ago, and your kids have both suddenly come down with a sickness you didn’t even know existed and now you need to pick them up from school. This means that any time you get to meet with your staff members needs to be used as efficiently as possible. So how do you make the most of your meetings?!
1) Create an outline!
Focus on these three key factors: What needs to be done, what should be done, and what could be done. Start by putting down the things which need to be done. These are the topics that you will make sure to cover and finish during the meeting, and you will tackle these first. Now it’s time to add the should to the list. These are the things that are important, but if you don’t have enough time to cover all of them it won’t be the end of the world. Tackle these bullet points after all of the ones needing to be done are accomplished. Finally, create a few bullet points on your meeting outline labeled as “could”. These are the things that can be left on the backburner until everything else is accomplished and aren’t going to bring down your business if they aren’t discussed today. These can be big picture ideas, small issues which have occurred in the past, small training sessions, or even discussion topics to create a friendly conversation with your staff before the meeting ends.
2) Choose the location wisely!
Where is your meeting going to be the most productive? The coffee shop can be a fun and friendly environment to hang out, but some meetings aren’t meant to be in the public eye. On the other hand, meetings to brain storm ideas and to generate creative content may turn out better in an environment like this. Make your location decision based on what your meeting is about, how many people are going to be there, who is involved, the goals of the meeting, and the timeline of the meeting. If your meeting is very serious and focused on raw data or financial information you are better off staying in a quiet environment like your office conference room. If you have 40 staff members attending a meeting do you really want to barrage the mom and pop coffee shop down the street? Maybe you only have 3 people attending the meeting, and they are all huge donut fans. Schedule the meeting at the donut shop! Finally, the timeline of the meeting is important to keep in mind. If you have only scheduled 30 minutes for this important meeting and you have 10 “need” bullets to be addressed you’re not going to want to waste 15 of those minutes driving off campus. These are the meetings that should be done in the most convenient place possible. On the other hand you could make the meeting a daytime retreat and go to a nice place 2 hours north of town. Make sure to consider all of these location tips when scheduling your next meeting.
3) Find a routine that works!
Every business has its own culture and climate. Make sure to use your company culture to gauge the overall feeling in the room and plan your meetings accordingly. If you have a fun loving, happy go lucky work culture make sure to use that to your advantage to make the most of your meeting. Don’t create meetings that are mundane, dull, and don’t encourage creativity or discussion. Use the energy in the room to your advantage and create a meeting environment and agenda that will harness this energy. If you have a room full of accountants (please don’t hurt me accountant friends), on the other hand, you may want to keep the meeting drier and straight forward. Figure out who you are dealing with for each meeting and plan accordingly.
Follow these three tips next time you schedule a company meeting and tell us how it goes! Hopefully these will lead to more productive meetings, happier and more fulfilled employees, and positive results after the fact.
Leave a comment below if you have any tips or tricks for a productive meeting, or if you found these tips helpful for making the most of your meetings!