Meetings or conferences are inevitable for an organization. It is a platform for face-to-face discussions between people to exchange ideas, opinions and views, and to make informed decisions necessary for the growth of the organization. These meetings can be recorded and transcribed with the assistance of general transcription services for future reference. Although meetings are important, some people believe that they are a pure waste of time. Conducting a meeting efficiently is important for the success of the business. For productive meetings it is important to follow some protocols and guidelines.
Following are some of the costly mistakes that should be avoided to ensure maximum productivity for your business meeting.
- Using time ineffectively: When meetings are not properly structured, they kill productivity. It is necessary to have an actionable item list wherein tasks are assigned to participants in an orderly fashion once the relevant discussions are over. Keep the meeting length to a minimum, with a definite stop time. Many companies find that 15-minute meetings ensure high productivity and in such meetings the time is used effectively because each participant has to stay on the topic and be brief. Virtual meetings are a great time saver because travel time can be avoided. Now you have reliable audio, video and web conferencing solutions that maximize meeting time and are flexible enough to host any size meeting with high-end collaborative tools for quick assignment of tasks and decision-making.
- Allowing competition: In every meeting there will be at least one person who tends to be very competitive. They always try to outsmart others in the room. Overcoming this type of situation is difficult and it cannot happen suddenly. So, all meeting participants have to be told directly or indirectly that meetings are not a platform to display any person’s excellence. This helps everyone to contribute to the meeting without any fear or hindrance.
- Not keeping track of what has to be discussed and what is being discussed: There is always a possibility for participants to slip away from the core topic and discuss irrelevant subjects. In a survey of senior managers, 65 percent said that meetings kept them from completing their work, 71 percent said that meetings were unproductive and 62 percent said that meetings failed to bring people together. So, avoid story telling during meetings. Another remedy is to have a predefined agenda before the meeting which will help in communicating with the attendees. This helps to track all the topics that need to be discussed in a meeting.
- Allowing disruptions caused by mobile devices: Today people are addicted to smart devices and allowing mobile phones in a meeting could be disruptive. However, a few exemptions can be made- to organize events and meetings in phone calendar or for gathering information that is required for the meeting. Checking or responding to emails or engaging in other correspondence during the meeting should be discouraged. So, keeping all devices away or switched off is important to get on with the meetings and it is the responsibility of each person attending the meeting to contribute effectively to the meeting.
- Poor meeting venue: The meeting venue is an important consideration. Ideally, meetings should not be conducted in a stuffy windowless room. The physical nature of the workplace makes a huge impact on employee satisfaction. Consider conducting meetings in open air that lets people breathe fresh air. Fresh oxygen and good sunlight will help participants to think positively. You can also conduct stand-up meetings that are short and to the point.
- Allowing interruptions: Some people tend to interrupt others while talking. They will never let a participant finish what he or she has to say. This trend should not be appreciated. These types of people lack self control and patience. It is important to warn them and ask them to give others an opportunity to express their thoughts and ideas.
- Late arrivals: Coming late to the meeting and making excuses should not be encouraged at any cost. People coming late should understand that it is best to apologize for their late arrival, and ensure that the meeting is not held up at their cost.
- Allowing pessimistic attitudes: A pessimist will always find mistakes in others and try to bring down everyone with them. This tends to reduce productivity in a meeting. So avoid encouraging pessimists to rule your meetings.
- Lack of facilitation skills: Meeting organizers must be properly trained and have sufficient practice to run effective meetings. Facilitation skills include listening, problem solving, providing feedback, planning group input, dealing with disruptive people, managing time effectively, and creating consensus.
- Failure to include a summary at the end: It is important to recap the key points discussed and decisions made at the end of your meeting. This is necessary to reaffirm the meeting outcomes and also emphasize who is accountable for what.
Identifying roadblocks to an effective meeting and dealing with them is important. To have a proper record of what transpired during the meeting, have the entire proceedings transcribed with the support of business transcription services. With a clear idea of the way the meeting was conducted and the outcomes, you can plan future meetings more efficiently and easily achieve the meeting objectives.