Making your business meetings more effective 

Here's how to manage meetings better and why videoconferencing should be a strong consideration for your business.

It’s no secret that many employees hate business meetings. Business News Daily reports that the number one reason employees hate this ritual because they view it as a waste of time. Whether because the leader repeats the same material over and over or the meetings themselves only exist to fill a quota, most employees find such meetings unsatisfying and frustrating. But a good business owner knows how important these are, and it’s not likely that they will be eliminated. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to make them more effective.

Have an agenda and resource list available ahead of time

Business 2 Community strongly recommends that all business meetings start off with agendas and resources sent out to the participants ahead of time. People don’t like putting their ideas on the line if they don’t know what all is going on. Additionally, you will have a far better chance of informed conversation. Discussing a new marketing strategy will receive better interaction if you give your employees an overview of it before the meeting. Or if you want to brainstorm ideas, give some parameters. This way, everyone arrives to the meeting prepared.

Even if you always have meetings on Wednesdays or Thursdays, make sure that you give your employees a general idea of what to expect. Holding a meeting just to have it is a bad idea for everyone involved. So within a few days of the scheduled time, give your employees an overview of what to expect and what resources they should be familiar with. The agenda itself does not have to be detailed. A few lines stating the purpose and points where you want feedback may be sufficient.

Start on time

Another common pet peeve among employees is the meeting that always starts late. If someone does not arrive on time for the meeting, go ahead and start without that person. Telling everyone that you start promptly at 9:00 am may seem harsh, particularly if you have a few individuals who try to slip in late. But your time is valuable as is your employees’. You should not waste it by indulging individuals who cannot take the time to arrive as promised.

Having an agenda will also help alleviate the need to explain matters to those who arrive late. So long as they can reference where they are approximately in the session, your employees should be fine. If late arrivals continue to be a problem, take the offending employees aside to reprimand them. Just make sure that you aren’t catering to them by holding everyone else hostage until they arrive.

Summarise the point

Even well planned meetings may sometimes leave employees confused. By the end of each session, there should be a clear sense of accomplishment and understanding. Whether that relates to where the business is going or resolving a particular issue, make sure everyone is on the same page. This means that you or the business leader will need to summarise what was discussed and what the conclusion was. This shouldn’t take too long. A minute or two to go over the key points and thank everyone for their attendance should be enough.

Consider video conferencing

Video conferencing offers a host of benefits, but one of the biggest ones is its ability to connect all members of a business wherever they may be so long as there is Internet. Provided the business meeting is structured and handled similar to a traditional in person session, video conference meetings will not suffer from lack of quality. Setting one up is also quite simple. You can use a number of resources from Skype to Blue Jeans to set the conference up. The Society for Industrial and Organisational Psychology reminds employers that one of the benefits of telecommuting is increased productivity. Keeping meetings under an hour with plenty of opportunity for give and take is best for productivity. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about commute times. So long as everyone can find a spare hour to share, you can get everyone in even if they are in different time zones or wouldn’t be able to make the commute under normal conditions.

When choosing a video conferencing service, don’t be afraid to take a few test runs. Host a meeting or two through the service to see what works and what doesn’t. See how well the system works with your employees and how intuitive it is. A good video conferencing service will allow for enhanced communication with greater ease. It should not make things more complicated.

Meetings are rarely something employees look forward to, and such sessions can be chronic time wasters. However, you can change all that by making your meetings more effective. Opting to video conference rather than requiring everyone to attend in person makes it easier to get everyone in at the same time. Having an agenda as well as a resource list ahead of time will also make the meeting go smoother as will starting on time. And when the meeting comes to a close, don’t walk out the door and assume everyone got the jist. Take the time to summarise the points and make sure you all understand one another. Through these tips your meetings will be significantly more effective.

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