One of the biggest challenges businesses and entrepreneurs face these days is how to get the most out of meetings. Here are some of my secrets to help remind people that you care – and that you are actually there!
1. Schedule meetings regularly. When you do this, people can anticipate there is going to be a monthly or weekly meeting and can prepare ahead for it. Stick to your guns and make it clear that everyone should show up. Meetings are only going to be as effective as the people who attend them. Don’t settle for regular excuses from staff – make them accountable. There are some good excuses, but regular absentees probably have underlying issues that need to be addressed.
2. Pick the best time according to the business. If 3-5 is rush time, choose an early morning or lunch meeting and feed the folks. That can be enough incentive right there to ensure that everyone attends.
3. Invitation only. It never seems cool to be exclusive these days, but you’ve gotta keep that guest list cut down to size. Meetings can be expensive when too many people show up. They take too much time, which can cut into productivity. Also, it costs more to feed all those people!
4. Create an agenda ahead of time and distribute it. If you expect people to contribute, you’ve got to let them know what will be discussed ahead of time.
5. Use meeting rooms. I’ve found that meeting in an outside place has been far more productive. Perhaps it’s because there seems to be a time limit or I’m not feeling like I’m in my own living room or something. After all, spend enough time in an office and it can begin to feel a little too much like home.
Love ’em or hate ’em, meetings are here to stay. No matter how fancy technology gets, it will never take the place of an eye-to-eye contact meeting. If you take the time to plan them right, they can be more of an asset than a drag!