Business meetings can go a few different ways. They can be terribly boring, a full on social hour, or mutually productive for everyone involved. The last is what many want and all need. A mutually productive business meeting is advantageous for all involved. It easy to know how to make the meeting productive and effective for yourself, but how do you make it so for your team? Try this.
Prepare Yourself and Them Ahead of Time
Send an agenda before the meeting in plenty of time for those involved to review it. Note where they will be asked to offer input, and list anyone who will be speaking at a certain point. In addition, let them know what will be asked from them in terms of reports and opinions so they can consider and prepare what they would like to say.
Give Them a Chance to Speak
If time and group size permits, allow participants to voice issues that they feel need to be brought to light. If this is not possible, provide an option for submitting it in writing, such as a suggestion card, or an opportunity to get it on the next agenda.
Offer Practical Tips
Offer team members practical tips for being more effective at their job. Provide what you have prepared, and ask them where they feel the issues are, and provide feedback. If a project is behind, figure out the problem and help them to find practical, actionable ways to get back on track. Saying “We need to step it up” is easy for you as the leader, but it doesn’t really help the team member. Telling them, “We order dinner and stay late to get caught up. What night works best for you?” gives them a practical way to remedy the situation.
Provide handouts at the beginning of the meeting with any information, including charts, graphs, and timelines, that may help them follow along with what you need to say. It is also helpful to note times and dates of events that may be mentioned, list phone numbers, and remind them how to get in contact with each other and you.
Electronic Follow Up
Send a follow up email discussing the notes of the meeting. This will help them remember what was discussed and give them an opportunity to print, highlight, or jot down anything they need to that they may have forgotten when the meeting was over. This may seem redundant to the handouts, but the purpose is to job their memory of what was actually discussed, and give them some information they may have neglected to write down. They probably threw the handouts away after the meeting anyway.
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