Important meeting coming up? Sometimes meetings are the most nerve-racking parts of the day! Taking the time to prepare for meetings will help to ensure they’re productive and fill the intended purpose for everyone involved. Meetings can be time-consuming so you’ll want to get the most of out of them as possible – for yourself and your employees. Here are four useful tips for getting the most out of meetings:

Prepare an Agenda

A meeting can often take a life of its own, stimulating conversations from others that are unrelated to the meeting’s original purpose. To keep a meeting on track, it’s extremely helpful to prepare an agenda stating the purpose of the meeting and outlining the key points of discussion and what needs to be accomplished. Be sure to circulate the agenda to everyone involved in the meeting ahead of time so they can come prepared with their feedback and input. This is an efficient way to help others prepare and keep the meeting’s duration within an allotted timeframe.

Control the Size

Regardless of how organized your agenda is, meetings with too many people can easily get out of control. It’s best to only include individuals who are critical to the meeting’s objective(s), and who can make meaningful contributions about the discussion topics at hand. Doing this will allow for an effective exchange of information and diverse opinions while limiting the discussion to those who are directly involved in the meeting’s purpose.

Allow Enough Time for Conversation

Though your agenda should keep the meeting on track, be sure to allow enough time for everyone at the meeting to provide their own input and ideas. The purpose of a meeting should be to share insights and perspectives so make sure everyone at least has a couple minutes to engage in the conversation. Every meeting should offer a certain degree of flexibility so that everyone can express themselves.

End with a Call to Action

No matter how well a meeting may go, it will be a waste of time if there no actionable follow-up. Always end a meeting by establishing a call to action or “next steps” for each employee involved. This should include a brief discussion of individual responsibilities and an agreed upon timeframe by the group. Ending each meeting with an action plan will promote accountability and ensure that the goals discussed in the meeting will be met.

Time is money, and why would you want to waste money? For the sake of your organization’s productivity and bottom line, it’s important to maximize the quality of your meetings so that your team can work as efficiently and effectively as possible.

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