Let’s face it, we’ve all been to our fair share of poorly planned, disorganized, pointless meetings. The good news is, your next meeting doesn’t have to be that kind of meeting. I’ve compiled some tips and tricks to help you host organized, purposeful and productive meetings!
Before the meeting
What’s the point?
Be clear about the purpose of the meeting and the specific deliverables you’d like to accomplish. It is imperative to have an agenda and a strong-minded facilitator that will keep the meeting on schedule. I recommend emailing the agenda out to attendees ahead of time so that they are aware of the topics being discussed and can come prepared.
Keep it short.
The longer someone is expected to stick around, the quicker they will check out. In our world of constant stimulation, staying focussed is more challenging for people than ever. When planning the agenda make sure the meeting time is no longer than 40 minutes! As something to aspire to, TED Talks curator, Chris Anderson, suggests that for maximum engagement, an 18-minute presentation is ideal. Pro-tip: If the meeting does not warrant 40 minutes, don’t have one! Instead, an email may suffice, or you could do like Steve Jobs and try a walking meeting.
Pick the right room!
Consider the purpose of your meeting and the people attending when booking a meeting room. If you are hosting a brainstorming session, pick a space that inspires creativity—like Roundhouse’s lego table meeting room, or an area with lots of wall space for brightly-coloured Post-it® notes. For an information-based meeting, a space with lots of windows and visual elements like a SMART board or whiteboard is ideal.
Snacks are life.
You want your attendees to walk into the meeting and be excited about the next 40 minutes, and let’s be real, there’s few things that excite people more than snacks do! Start with an icebreaker to get people relaxed and then bring out the snacks.Think more brainfood, less junk food. I suggest cinnamon and oranges— their aroma and the task of peeling an orange will help keep brains energized and fidgety people fulfilled.
Have someone take notes.
Meeting minutes are important for all meetings, as they make for clear communication post-meeting. They also prove very useful for evaluating how effective and productive your meeting was.
Stay on track.
Don’t let the meeting get off topic. I suggest using the ‘parking lot’ technique. When a point is raised that is worth talking about, but isn’t on the agenda, park it. Write the thought, idea or concern down on a whiteboard or piece of paper and come back to it at the end of the meeting. Be sure to allocate time in your agenda to revisit your parking lot list.
7. Follow up.
This is where meeting minutes become extremely useful. After your meeting, construct a follow-up email that lists the major takeaways, so that everyone is on the same page! You can also include any action items and the person responsible for completing each task.
I hope these tips prove helpful the next time you sit down with your team. If you have your own tried and tested tips, we’d love to hear them! Share them with the Roundhouse team on social (Twitter, Facebook, Insta) @roundhousechng.
- Emily Armstrong
Arts & Cultural Management Intern