Every workplace, large or small, requires meetings to take place in order to delegate tasks, brainstorm a solution or simply just to catch up. We’re not going to tell you how to run your own meetings, but here is a back to basics blog on some meeting rules you should already have in place to make sure you get the most out of your office catch-ups.
- Meetings before 9am and after 5pm can have their downsides. Meetings first thing in the morning are usually when employees are at their freshest and most productive, but meetings at 9am don’t allow your team to get into the office, get into the zone and set themselves up for success for the day. Similarly, meetings that run past 5pm can interfere with people’s after-work commitments, especially if they wanted to write up a wrap-up email or document post-meeting, before heading home. Meetings are probably best held around 9:30am or 10am, and between 4pm and 4:30pm.
- Avoid meetings back-to-back, as it can be gruelling on your team. Plenty of research suggests our brains weren’t built to brainstorm for longer than 20 minutes at a time and meetings one after the other don’t allow employees time to return a call they missed, go to the bathroom, or follow up a task.
- Keeping to the time allocated is key in being productive for the rest of the day. There may be important things to discuss but respecting your attendees’ prior commitments is important in keeping your team harmonious. One late running meeting can shake up an employee’s entire day.
- Make sure each meeting follows an agenda that covers what the purpose of the meeting is, what outcomes are expected of the meeting, items on the agenda and how much time is allocated to each item on the agenda. This allows attendees to prepare beforehand and jot down a few questions or points to mention under each section of the meeting.
- It can be beneficial emailing this agenda to attendees in advance and writing it up on the whiteboard to keep people focused with the issues at hand.
- Make sure your meeting room or table is prepped with everything you need prior to the start of the meeting so people don’t keep getting up to grab water, paper, pens or to turn the air conditioning on.
- Every workplace has that one person who talks more than their fair share at a meeting, but the point of a meeting is to get everyone’s thoughts. Politely thank this person for their input, but let them know that you’d like to hear everyone’s thoughts before a stance is taken on the matter.
- Whoever is scribing the meeting should send out a memo afterwards to all attendees as a wrap-up. This should have points on what has to occur, who will be taking care of what and deadlines due. Realistically, people tune out in meetings for minutes at a time and some people get restless, so sending a memo that they can read in the morning when they are refreshed can help to reinforce what needs to be done.