Meetings are probably one of the least exciting parts of running your own small business with a team of workers, but they are a very necessary part of continuing to develop your success. Though there are few things you can do to make the idea of a meeting more enjoyable, you can certainly make the meeting as effective and to-the-point as possible; which can also make the entire experience as tolerable as possible. Here are 5 tips for planning effective meetings that should help you get everyone into the room, discuss what needs to be addressed, and back to their work stations as quickly as possible.1. Turn Off Phones and Other Personal Devices
One of the biggest distractions in a meeting is someone looking at their Facebook page or playing their favorite game rather than listening to what is going on in the meeting. Every time a speaker has to repeat themselves because somebody was distracted is another 30 seconds that everyone is stuck in the meeting room instead of doing their jobs. By requiring everyone to shut off their electronics and personal devices (unless required for the meeting), you can keep everyone focused and get the meeting over sooner.
2. Limit (or eliminate) Boring PowerPoint Presentations
Let’s face it, PowerPoint presentations are boring. Nobody likes looking at a projector screen while a speaker makes each bullet point at a snail’s pace only to find that the vast majority of the information is common sense. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and place for using PowerPoint to present information; but it doesn’t need to be used every time. Avoid using PowerPoint if you can because it will drag out meetings and cause disinterest in the participants.
3. Prepare in Advance
One of the best timesavers for a meeting is to show up prepared and ready to roll. The more time you spend flipping through notes and deciding what to tackle, the longer the meeting will be. Take 20 minutes before the meeting starts to put together a game plan and the entire ordeal will go faster and more smoothly.
4. Try Virtual Meetings Instead
Depending on how your small business is structured, it can often be a nuisance to have certain meeting participants commute to where the meeting room is for a simple 30 minute meeting. If you are planning on something short, you may want to consider virtual meetings using one of the many webcam-based programs available online. Virtual meetings are not always going to be the most appropriate choice for your needs, but they can save a lot of time if you are doing a fast meeting to touch base or establish goals.
5. Follow Up on Meeting Goals
The point of having a meeting is usually to establish goals or game plans to objectives in the relatively near future. By verbally communicating these goals, you are setting a bar for certain members of your staff to achieve. To make sure that your meeting had a point and that everyone took away what they were supposed to, you want to make sure you follow up on meeting goals promptly. By following up every time, you establish a precedent for your staff and they will start to be more reliable with getting their tasks done in the long-term.