5 Tips To Make Your Meetings Useful

Have useful meetings

Meetings are simply a fact of office and business life. They can be used for a variety of reasons such as meeting clients or suppliers, organising a team goal, a one on one meeting with a manager and in some cases, perhaps even a meeting to prepare for a bigger meeting.

As expected then, some people may love them whereas other people may hate having them. Some may find themselves frequently involved in meetings, others may be lucky to be included in one meeting a year. A poorly run meeting however is unlikely to find itself many admirers whereas there are other meetings that are put together so well, the time seems to fly.

But how do you achieve a useful meeting? We’ve put together some tips that will help to ensure that you either create or are involved in a beneficial and meaningful meeting.

Is It Necessary?

Have you ever been sat in a meeting and realised that there was no reason to be having the meeting? Not only is this an irritant to those involved, but it also means that valuable working time is being lost due to everyone being in an unnecessary meeting.

So an important point to consider if you are preparing to request a meeting is quite simply, is it necessary? Is a meeting the best way to communicate with your colleagues or will an email work just as well? If it turns out that you don’t need to meet, then not only are saving yourself time but you are saving your colleagues time as well!

Who Needs To Be There?

Another annoyance is when people are invited into meetings only to end up sat doing nothing because the topic has no relevance to them personally. We can often fall in the trap of inviting the whole team or inviting someone because you think they should be involved, only to find out afterwards they really shouldn’t have been there.

So consider wisely who you invite to your meetings, perhaps ask them beforehand if they feel it would be relevant to them. If you are invited into a meeting, consider if you are actually needed in the meeting. If you don’t feel you’ll be useful, politely decline and inform the host that you don’t feel you’ll be any benefit.

Prepare For The Meeting

Preparation is incredibly important in all aspects of work life as no one likes to turn up to something completely unprepared. For meetings however, it is doubly important to ensure that you have prepared all your materials, an agenda, a presentation if needed and anything else you may need.

Why is it extra important for meetings? Because if you are not prepared then you will be wasting your colleagues’ time as well as potentially forgetting something important. It will also make you look unprofessional, particularly if you are meeting clients or suppliers from outside your company.

Ensure You Have Plenty of Time

Keep your meetings topical

Keep your meetings topical

Often in workplaces you will find that you need to specifically book a room or area for a meeting. This will mean that everyone is aware that you will be using the room, reducing the risk of any unwanted interruptions.

But something people may not think about is the length of time they will need. You may book a room for an hour, only to find that your meeting stretches 2 hours due to the contributions of your colleagues or an issue arises that you hadn’t thought of. As such, it might be advisable to always book a room for half an hour, or even an hour, longer than you actually need.

This will provide you with plenty of time in case your meeting goes over the expected timeframe.

Keep It Topical

A meeting should only be for information that cannot be discussed or shared via email or any other form of communication. As such, it should be equally important to ensure that the topic of conversation during the meeting doesn’t meander into unrelated areas.

A meeting that is discussing the launch of a new product should not find itself discussing the latest episode of reality television. As we’ve suggested before, this will simply end up being a waste of time for both you and your colleagues.

By staying on topic and staying focused the meeting will likely finish quicker as well.

Do You Have Any Tips?

We’ve only covered five tips here that will be useful for people in the workplace, but we’re sure there’s plenty more out there. Do you have tips that we might have missed? Why not let us know?

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Sarah Jubb

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