Sunday 12 July 2015

6 Tips to Conducting Effective Office Meetings

I’ve been part of several waste-of-time Monday morning (compulsory) meetings as a junior rookie and wondered why we spent so much time not doing any work.  With almost one work day wasted in office meetings, we were essentially left with 4 work days to do actual client work. 

Office meetings are important for obvious reasons if you look at things from the boss’ perspective. However, they tend to largely drag on or be a waste of everyone’s time especially if it doesn’t directly involve them.

Here are some tips to make office meetings more effective:
  1. Invite only relevant people to join the meeting – everyone need not be asked to join the meeting just to be nice to them or make them feel important. A meeting is not a PR exercise.
  2. Encourage everyone to be prepared – circulate the agenda in advance and ask people to think and be prepared before they get into the meeting so each person comes with their views. If you need to conduct smaller one-on-one meetings before the big one, do it.
  3. Stick to the agenda and goals. Don’t digress - a business meeting with a defined agenda and goals is not the place to air views about other matters and get side tracked. In case there are pending issues to be discussed, set another meeting time.
  4. Someone leads the meeting – If you have called for a meeting, you should be concluding it.  You could moderate it or select another colleague to do it.
  5. Respect time – Sometimes meetings run so over time that everyone loses energy and interest thereby diluting its purpose. Not to mention a serious waste of precious executive time and productivity. Set a realistic time and stick with it. 
  6. Conclusion & Follow up – summarize the meeting, set goals and responsibilities with timelines. Follow up with the concerned parties to ensure tasks have been completed as discussed in the meeting. This is absolutely crucial to achieving progress.
There is of course meeting etiquette that one can take care of to increase effectiveness – the key being leaving gadgets out to rest. If one has the ability to listen and allow other points of view, that works well too.

Viraj Kulkarni, Founder & CEO, Pivot Management Consultants, shares some tips from his experience, “Many of us speak very fast. Be in no hurry, speak slowly to be heard clearly. Slowly, not softly, else you would be asked to repeat. Special attention should be paid to dressing for video conferencing (VC). I’ve seen many people fidget with chair knobs or play with cell phones while on a VC! This should be avoided. Remember to smile. Serious business can be done with a pleasant smile too".

Please share your tips for effective office meetings.


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