5 Ways to Create Better Meetings

Author: Paul Henriques in: Management

December 27, 2022

5 Ways to Create Better Meetings

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?

Select a Venue

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:

  • The size of the group – Is this a large group, a small group, or will you quickly devolve into individual work parts with presentations?
  • The type of work – Does the meeting require movement, motion, or actionable props?
  • The meeting goal – Is the meeting for firm-wide alignment, area-specific operation changes, creating new developments, or personal action-plans?

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.

Set the Stage

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:

  1. Welcome your attendees and introduce them to get them talking with positive tones and small talk. The sooner a person talks, the more likely they are to feel open to continue talking.
  2. Give life to the reason for the meeting. This helps create interest in the problem that the meeting was called to resolve.
  3. Provide an outline. Quickly cover what you are hoping to get from the meeting with a summary review of the agenda.

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.

Establish Outputs

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:

  • Individual actions required
  • Insights into new problem resolutions
  • Skill and relationship requirements
  • New products, plans, or ideas

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.

Focus on the Issue

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:

  • For an idea-building strategy-type of meeting, you can ask “What would you change if you could start over?”
  • For penetrating new markets, you can ask “How can we enter this market? What is stopping us? What can we do about the difficulties and hurdles?”
  • If it is a review meeting before a launch, you can ask “How ready are we to launch? Is your team ready to deliver your part of the project? What else do you need to improve on your deliverables?”
  • For managing possible changes to operations, you can ask “Rank these items from most to least important. What can we do to improve operations on these high priority tasks?”

Stimulate Creativity

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:

  1. Help focus attendees.
  2. Add a new viewpoint.
  3. Generate an emotional response.

Example stimuli include:

  • A report that shows, in visual form, results caused by the issue
  • A rough draft or a sketch
  • A phone interview with a group or person affected by the issue
  • An anecdote related to the issue

Conclusion

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.

Agree/ Disagree? Tell us what you think below!

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