Creating a More Effective Meeting Culture: Some Helpful Tips and Tricks
For as much as we may not like them, meetings are an inevitable part of modern-day business. From the smallest startups to the largest corporations, the goal of meetings is to get a team in sync so that it can accomplish some goal. In practice, however, meetings often go off-track. To put it more harshly, they can be wastes of time. This then creates a negative meeting culture, where everyone from the manager to the entry-level employee dreads attending them.
In this post, we want to offer some tips on how you can create a more effective meeting culture. Whether your meeting culture is poor or you want to design an even more effective culture, you can leverage these tips to get the job done.
Rely on Agendas
This is one of the “killer apps” in creating a great meeting culture. Agendas can both keep you on track during the actual meeting and ensure that you are touching on critical items to reach your business goals.
The natural question is how to actually do this. Luckily, there are some first principles to follow. On your agenda, you’ll certainly want to include simple details like the time of the meeting and who is expected to attend. But beyond that, don’t hesitate to write down some general objectives and key points you’d like to discuss. Make sure that they are relevant and appropriate to your short-term and/or long-term business goals. Putting in this type of work before the meeting can make your meetings more effective and improve morale amongst your team.
Promote Active Listening
You may go so far as planning the best possible agendas for your upcoming meetings. While this is an important step, it isn’t enough. Your meeting environment must promote active listening.
By active listening, we mean meeting attendees listening intently to every speaker. This doesn’t occur in many meetings. Whether we are scrolling through our phones or thinking about what’s next on our schedules, these types of distractions make it nearly impossible to actively listen.
So what can you do from here? For one thing, try to eliminate technology in your meetings. This can be impossible today, as nearly all of our meetings are on Zoom. That being said, encourage your colleagues to eliminate these technological distractions. While you can’t force them to do so, making a sincere effort can go further than you may think.
An underrated way to promote active listening is to strategically schedule your meetings. Active listening can be much more difficult in the afternoon slump, for instance. Try to discuss your most important items in a morning meeting. It will promote active listening and improve your odds of having a successful meeting.
Create Actionable Steps
Meetings are about getting things done. The meeting itself isn’t the objective. Rather, the results from the meeting are the objective.
Because of this, it is extremely critical to focus on next steps after the meeting. Often, this discussion occurs in the latter part of the conversation. It is often amid some positivity or optimism—especially when your team developed a game-changing idea. You and your team may be extremely excited about that particular idea, but that excitement can dramatically fade when you’re unclear about how to execute that idea.
The next steps are crucial. Before going your separate ways with that awesome idea, make sure that you have developed some clear action steps. This can be everything from technical next steps to execute your idea to metrics that you will want to meet before your next meeting. Your next steps can even be deadlines on certain tasks that make up that awesome idea.
Whatever the case may be, make sure that you have a plan on how to execute what you’ve discussed. Hold your team accountable and discuss it in your next meeting. By doing this, you’ll increase your chances of actually having those ideas or plans come to fruition.
Transforming Your Meetings
Meetings don’t have to suck. They don’t have to be a waste of time. Ultimately, take these tips and strategies and implement them in your meetings. While you may not see results right away, keep experimenting. Before long, you’ll find that your meeting culture is substantially better.