While some like to complain about them, meetings are a mainstay of the corporate world that can have a positive impact on a company’s future. But too many of these meetings end up repeating the same few ideas over and over again. Even meetings that start out in a positive light can end with attendees exiting the room with the low murmur or “this could have been an email” under they breath. So, what can you do to ensure your meetings stay productive and engaging?
While a sit-down in an enclosed conference room is the default idea for most when it comes to meetings, this is not always the best place to host the meeting. You should look to adjust the location of your meetings to have the best impact on your attendees. Things to consider:
Different considerations will dictate the format of the meeting and the location, with the goal being the comfort of the attendees with presenting their ideas.
Starting off things right is always an introduction to success. Your first five minutes are a crucial time to set the tone. Here, you should:
Be ready with the tools you will need to help with the meeting. Things like a whiteboard, an affinity map, or a cause-and-effect diagram are good examples of tools that should be on hand, based on the desired outputs, venue, and issue.
As you get ready for your meeting, you should always focus on what you want as the take-home. The output of the meeting should help you achieve a resolution to the issue that sparked the need for the meeting. This output should include:
Having an idea of what outputs will be generated from the meeting can help the team understand the engagement they should provide. And by having the materials ready, you can share the output results once the meeting is complete.
Next, you should help your attendees focus on the problem at hand. You can do this by framing the issue in the form of a question that is specific enough for people to answer with minimal effort, but broad enough to invite outside the box ideas. For example:
Starting off strong with the right venue, a good intro, the right questions, and a focus can still quickly lose its lustre. To foment new ideas, it can help to add context to the idea as a way to keep everything on track. Stimulating your attendees to focus on how to creatively engage in the problem will further help improve your meeting results.
Your ideal stimuli should:
Example stimuli include:
Whether in person or online, there are a variety of ways to deliver meeting content. You should always try and adjust the meeting to what seems to be the best for the task at hand.
Remember your goal is to guide a positive meeting that ensures that you attendees feel heard and empowered to bring their ideas to the front so that the group can construct the best plan possible to tackle the issue.
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