Don’t Get Lost in the Shuffle: How to Run Organized Meetings
Take a look at your work calendar. Is the sheer amount of scheduled meetings stressing you out? Well you certainly aren’t alone. Meetings are often more prevalent due to remote and hybrid workplace environments. Because face-to-face interactions are minimal, there is a high likelihood that your days are filled with video conferences.
While many meetings are necessary, it’s easy to get distracted during them. Hopping from one meeting to the next is draining, to put it lightly. Also, you’re likely guilty of multitasking throughout just so you can stay on top of your workload.
Now, if you’re running a meeting you don’t want others to be distracted or multitasking. However, with a few preparations your meeting won’t get lost in the shuffle. Yes, you can even run a well-intended, productive meeting during the most chaotic of days! Keep reading to learn four ways to run an organized meeting.
1. Get Organized
First things first, you need to get organized. Before you schedule a meeting on anybody’s calendar, you need to have a clear goal in mind. What is the purpose of the meeting? Why are you inviting these particular employees? What do you need to get out of the allotted time together? Asking yourself these questions is a sure way to ensure the time together is a constructive use of time.
Additionally, you will want to create a meeting agenda and distribute it to all attendees beforehand. A meeting agenda is simply a list of particular topics and areas of discussion that need to be addressed during the meeting. It should include action items, so attendees will know ahead of time what the expectations are. Above all, it should be clear and easy-to-read. Bulletpoints are your friend when it comes to creating a meeting agenda!
2. Stay on Time and Topic
Now that the meeting is scheduled and you have sent out the meeting agenda, it’s time to run the meeting! One of workers’ biggest pet peeves is when someone is late to their own meeting. If that means jumping off another call a few minutes ahead of time, do it. Your attendees will feel like their time is valued and not wasted. Coming into a meeting late means the attendees are likely already uninterested and less likely to focus on what’s ahead.
In addition to this, make sure the team stays on topic. While everyone wants to hear about each other’s weekends, now is not necessarily the best time. This is what Slack messages and happy hours are for! If you find that someone is off topic, reel them back in politely but assuredly. This goes for video meetings in addition to in-person meetings. Sticking to the meeting agenda will be very helpful for this particular task.
3. Take Notes
A meeting without notes can quickly become forgotten. After all, you have so much to think about on a work day. The item someone asked for at 9:00 a.m. during a check-in may not come to mind when needed. This is just one reason why taking detailed, thorough notes is important.
If you are leading the meeting, you may ask someone ahead of time to be the designated note taker. This can even be a rotating responsibility on your team. Ask that whoever has that responsibility share the notes with you and the entire team via a recap email. This ensures every attendee, as well as those who were unable to attend, know what happened during the meeting. Meeting notes can also be used as references, if needed.
Imagine it’s been a few days since the meeting. Do your teammates need a reminder on what was discussed and the subsequent action items? Adding another meeting to the calendar can halt productivity for everyone. However, a follow-up email or Slack message to the entire team asking about their status may be beneficial.
This is also where certain software tools such as Asana and Monday.com can be helpful. With these and other tools, your employees can update their status on certain projects. You as the leader can look at their statuses and how everyone on the team is doing. In your follow-ups, be sure to ask politely. Having the boss ask you what you’ve done since you last met, for instance, can be quite intimidating!
Meetings are a critical part of the workplace. It’s how employees can contribute their thoughts, ask for others’ opinions or help, and how you as a leader can get everyone on the right path. That said, a disorganized meeting is simply invaluable. In fact, recent research shows that the average professional wastes two hours every week due to unproductive meetings.
But bear in mind, a well-organized meeting takes some pre and post-work. You need to have a set goal in mind, and establish what needs to get done in the set amount of time. Adding time to somebody’s calendar can seem important, however resist the temptation if an email is sufficient. Follow these key points and feel more confident in your meetings.