Ever been to a meeting that you walked out of asking yourself what got accomplished? At any time, have you had a coworker disrupt a group discussion by responding to a text or email? When working as a G.M. in Los Angeles, I remember excusing myself early from a meeting because the Team Leader was commenting on people he was watching outside. They happened to be actors coming in for a casting session, and although interesting on one level, it was a major distraction from the topic at hand.
Here are seven ways to keep everyone engaged and in their seats at your next meeting:
1. Has an agenda been distributed to attendees before the meeting? By doing so, everyone will be prepared and on the same page at the top of the meeting.
2. Does your agenda include the names of attendees and those who will be absent? It can be helpful for future reference.
3. Have ‘Old Business’ and ‘New Business’ been added to the agenda? These serve as guidelines for the meeting facilitator and prevent a topic from dropping off prematurely.
4. Who will be taking minutes? It is important to assign this task to someone who can record notes quickly and accurately.
5. Do the minutes indicate next to each action item the staff member responsible for taking action? Accountability and follow-up are built-in.
6. Have the minutes been distributed within 24-48 hours following the meeting? Attendees remain on track, and the momentum continues.
7. Is the leader staying on target and running the meeting according to the agenda? When this does not occur, attendees get bored and lose focus.
These tips are practical and easy to implement regardless of the type of meeting you are organizing or attending.
What other tools have you incorporated to maximize the value of your meetings? We would welcome hearing from you! Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.