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To implement successful meetings it is important to understand the characteristics of an effective meeting. Meetings that accomplish goals can be conducted in any business environment, but in order for them to be successful they must follow certain basic principles. Here are five of the most important:
– Active participation. Ineffective meetings are usually characterized by a resounding silence and passive participants. In effective meetings, active participation by the participants creates a synergy which leads to increased productivity. Productivity increased in turn promotes increased profitability.
– Clear agenda. In order for productive meetings to be successful, an agenda must be set and attendees must have an understanding of its content. Ineffective meetings do not allow for clear agenda setting and often result in lack of agreement on the agenda. In addition, ineffective meetings generally have few facilitators or no facilitators at all. If there are facilitators at an event, there is usually a great deal of back and forth communication between the various parties. In effective meetings everyone is brought up to the same table and has an opportunity to voice their opinion.
– Sharing of Information. Ineffective meetings often occur when too much information is shared. Ineffective meetings also occur when the participants do not have an understanding of what is being discussed. Sharing of information is necessary to fully comprehend the objectives of the meeting. Sharing of information can make decisions easier to implement and can foster a strong working relationship.
– Open minds. Effective meetings involve open minds and participation by all parties. Participants are encouraged to contribute their ideas and have them presented before the group. Without this open-mind concept, a meeting is quickly lost in the clutter of information.
– Re-asking Questions. Ineffective meetings often involve rehashing old information and there is often little time allotted for questions from new participants. In order for a meeting agenda to be effective, all participants should be allowed a minimum of five minutes to ask follow-up questions.
– Setting Expectations. It is important to set clear expectations before a meeting begins. Setting expectations ensures that the agenda will be handled in an effective manner. A clear understanding of all expected outcomes ensures that meeting participants know what to expect as well as contributing to the overall effectiveness of the agenda.
The key to effective meetings is to keep track of everything that is said. This includes listening to other people’s ideas, comments and concerns. If information is not clearly understood, participants will feel like they are not part of the process and will be unable to contribute. The more involved a group feels, the more likely they are to be productive. Following these tips on how to have successful meetings will help you to ensure your meetings are full of knowledge and creativity.
– Listen and Learn. In order to have successful meetings, it is critical that everyone is able to participate. When participants do not understand the information that is being shared, it is difficult for them to engage. In an effort to be sure that everyone is participating and learning, include directions to leave comments or concerns at certain points throughout the meeting, as well as follow-up questions or feedback opportunities after certain topics. Asking participants to follow-up with comments or concerns is an excellent way to ensure that all parties remain engaged in the meeting.
– Maintain Focus. In order for meetings to be successful, everyone involved must maintain focus. To facilitate clear purpose, it is necessary to have a specific time and place for discussions about the matter at hand. If participants are not well-organized, it is difficult for productivity to rise.
– Follow-Up. After the agenda is completed, it is important to track and review all of the meeting outcomes. Reviewing meeting progress enables individuals to determine if any changes are necessary. This allows for individuals to plan upcoming meetings so that they are more effective. By setting and following up with agendas, track the status of each item on the agenda and use a checklist to ensure that all necessary people are involved in the process of making changes to the business agenda.
– Have a Meeting Monitor. Setting up a meeting monitor is another way to ensure that everyone is on the same page. The purpose of a meeting monitor is to provide an overview of the meeting to individuals who may need assistance following a specific topic. A meeting monitor also provides a means of communicating with individual attendees about tasks and progress. It can be particularly useful for ensuring that agenda or task goals are being met and can help individuals identify areas for future improvement.