Ask any corporate employee about the number of meetings they are asked to attend and you’ll no doubt hear moans and groans. So just how do you entice, incent and get others to “want to” attend your meetings?
First of all, try cutting the overall number of meetings you conduct in half. That’s correct, in half. For the remaining meetings, cut the actual meeting time in half. When people feel that their time is being respected by others they’ll be more apt to participate in required meetings with better attitudes.
The next time you plan a meeting, follow these guidelines for productive meetings and to insure that those invited will be glad they came.
- Create an agenda and send it to participants ahead of time. Ask for revisions prior to the meeting, stating that only Agenda items will be discussed.
- Invite only those that need to be there. This is important as most people feel they are invited to too many meetings not requiring their attendance.
- Start on time. Don’t punish those who arrive on time by waiting for late comers.
- Designate a time keeper to help keep you on track according to your agenda.
- Designate a note-taker. This person can jot down action items assigned to individuals in attendance. They can also E-mail a recap to attendees if one is warranted.
- Stick to the agenda. No matter what.
- Have fun. If someone has a birthday, take time to sing. Present the group with a riddle and give a prize to the solver. Tell a joke. Smile!
- For meetings lasting thirty minutes or less, choose a meeting location without chairs. You’ll be amazed at how quickly people will conduct business and stick to the point when they’re not comfortably seated.
- If your meeting includes chairs, ask individuals to stand as they give reports and updates. As the meeting organizer, stand at the meeting’s end to briefly recap the project, reviewing future action items, deadlines and individuals with specific tasks.
- Practice good time management – Always finish your meetings on time and even earlier if possible.
- Appreciation goes a long way. Be sincere in thanking attendees for their time and attention.
If a follow-up meeting will be necessary, set the date at this time.