Monday, July 10, 2017

Simple Strategies For Perfect Business Meetings

Successful entrepreneurs tend to be united in many personality traits, but arguably most dominant of all is their ability to understand time. Not in the sense of basic perception of time, of course - most of us have that nailed by the time we’re a few years old - but the sense of how time can be used, and how it can be wasted, when running a business. After all, time is money, so we are told - so lost time is like burning wads of cash in front of your eyes. 

If there is one area of business that is liable to losing time (and thus losing money), it’s meetings. 

It doesn’t matter if they’re daily briefings or just a once-a-month sitrep for the company; it’s a one-way ticket to lost time and productivity. Why? 
  • Meetings bring together people who might not usually see one another, thus they want to catch up. This can be related to the business, or it might be in a social sense. You don’t have to ban your employees from being friendly entirely, but nevertheless, if their chat is dragging on for too long then you’re effectively paying them to gossip
  • Bringing together lots of different threads, people, and departments, is an efficiency task that few companies manage smoothly. You have to have all the right people in the right place, then the right equipment, then all the tech has to work as it should be working… it’s not easy. 
  • When there are disagreements or discussions, everything is going to take longer to work through. 
  • Meetings often involve the coordination of many people from different areas at one time, which can mean syncing diaries and having to handle unexpected absences. Just dealing with this side of a meeting can be problematic, and that’s just the bit that gets everyone in the same room! 

It’s fair to say that meetings are a space that needs improvement - but what tools have successful entrepreneurs harnessed to ensure their business meetings are productive, each and every time?

1 - Specific Talking Points 

If you’re having a meeting, you need a set of specific talking points that are going to be covered in said meeting. Don’t deviate off of this list; don’t be persuaded to move off course. Keep it clean and decisive, with any issues outside of the list being postponed for discussion until the next meeting. 

2 - Beat The Schedule 

Always ensure your staff know if meetings are optional or mandatory, so they can arrange their diaries to make sure they don’t miss anything vital. When it comes to scheduling everyone together, meeting room booking software can help manage this and make sure you have the available space booked for the right time. If someone can’t be present, video the meeting and then email it to them - that way, you’re all always working off the same information. 

3 - Start Each Meeting With A Five Minute Informal Chat 

Finally, to beat the gossip without straying off of the list of topics: put a section at the top of your list for informal chat. Give everyone a chance to catch up, swap stories, talk about their recent experiences with the company - then draw a line under it and call the meeting to order. This is the best way of ensuring you don’t have any further disruptions as the meeting progresses. 

Fingers crossed that by using some of the above techniques, your future meetings will be nothing short of exemplary!

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