Meetings can be a pain when not done right. Not only do they end up taking endless amounts of time, but they can go nowhere. Sometimes, no decisions are made, no questions are answered, and topics that should have been broached have been all but ignored.
A well-managed meeting can determine the course of the rest of the day, or even the rest of the week. But a bad meeting can go the direct opposite direction, bringing a crew down with inaction and annoyance.
What’s the key? What makes a good meeting different from one that can go horribly wrong? How can you make sure that every meeting – every day – doesn’t end up frustrating, but fulfilling?
Tip #1: Time It Right
The first step to making your daily meeting go right is by not necessarily having a daily meeting. Unless you’re sure that you need to keep your team up to date on a daily basis, it may be enough to have an end-of-the-week meeting, or a meeting on Mondays. Alternatively, you can have two meetings: one on Mondays, and another towards the middle or end of the week.
If you’re doing daily meetings because you’re in the middle of a project and are managing a team, then the key here is brevity. Keep your meetings short instead of painfully long. The whole point of a workday is to work, not discuss work, so be efficient.
Tip #2: Know Your Goal
Not every meeting has to be completely planned out, with questions and a final decision. But every meeting should have a goal. If you’re in an agile-based team, doing Scrum stand-up meetings and, as per Scrum.org, cutting through the complexity to focus simply on a software project’s needs, then you already know that you shouldn’t be directing or planning a meeting to answer known questions. Instead, these meetings exist to address the problems that have recently come up, announcing them on the spot and asking for suggestions to tackle these obstacles, before determining what everyone will be doing for the day and getting on with it all.
Alternatively, if you’re just starting a project, you could have 30-minute long project briefing to sit down and really go over all of the basics, from what the client wants, to brainstorming, to coming up with the first task and finally taking it on.
Have a goal – planned or unplanned – and pursue it.
Tip #3: Brevity Is Key
The general rule for a meeting should be this: don’t go over 30 minutes. For the first 30 minutes, you’re practically guaranteed the attention of all meeting-goers, especially if you ban distractions, such as email or unrelated work.
After that half-hour, however, the mind begins to wander. You lose people. This is especially true if you’re having trouble keeping everyone engaged and actively participating in the meeting. To prevent that at all costs and make sure you’re making the most of the day, meetings shouldn’t exceed 30 minutes. Get a timer, pay attention to it, and once the 30-minute mark is reached, call it a day.
Tip #4: Go Digital
While digital is already the only possibility of having a proper meeting for virtual teams working on a project over long distances, this isn’t the case for teams working together in a single office – but it should be. Not only can you better coordinate with members outside of your department or office (or outsourced partners, for smaller companies), but you can also utilize modern communications and collaboration tools to boost your efficiency, save time, and be more productive.
If what you’re looking for is the best video meeting for IT companies, then you’ll need a proper, premium solution like BlueJeans. Just opting for a free VOIP software isn’t going to get you anywhere, unless what you’re looking for is echoing audio, choppy video, and grainy pictures. While your internet connection and available broadband has a lot to do with video quality, in some cases, it’s also a question of what telephony provider you’re utilizing.
A top-of-the-line video meeting solution won’t just help you schedule meetings over the internet and cut down on travel time, while meeting with people who aren’t physically there to attend a meeting at a table. It’ll also help you record the meeting, work with media such as slideshows, videos and documents during the meeting, start screen-sharing to showcase a web application or software, and so much more. Plus, you can do all this over a safe, encrypted connection, to keep prying eyes away. This is important, given the growing propensity for cybercrime; as many as one in 10 people in the UK are likely to become victims in the near future, according to the Telegraph.
Tip #5: Know When to Step In
Meetings can sometimes be plagued by detours, off-track conversations, unconstructive arguments, or a single person with a penchant for run-on sentences. In all of these cases, you’ll have to offer a verbal firm hand to redirect the meeting towards its proper course and remind everyone that they’re here to get things done, and not to argue.
As long as you keep the peace and stick to the basics, you won’t have any disappointing meetings any longer.