Are you preparing to run an important meeting at work? Or perhaps you’re going to be participating in one and want to make sure you can ensure its efficiency? Whatever your role, an upcoming meeting can be stressful, but there are plenty of things you can do to make the most of it. Here are some of our top tips:
- Good timekeeping
Set a very specific start and end time, as time pressure will keep the discussion focused. If you’re running the meeting, make sure to show up 5-10 minutes early so that you can ensure everything is prepared and that any computers or projectors you may be using are working properly. And as a participant, it goes without saying you should make sure you show up on time!
- Agenda and follow-up
It’s important to email an agenda 24 hours in advance of the meeting so all participants are aware of what is to be discussed and can prepare accordingly; this also means that as a recipient of the agenda you should study it carefully! Equally crucial is the follow up email within the next 24 hours to state clearly what was established in the meeting and any further action that needs to be taken.
- Challenge ideas, not people
As an active contributor to the discussion you shouldn’t be afraid to question others’ suggestions, even those of your superiors; remember that silence is an admission of agreement. What you need to be careful of is that you are non confrontational about this, and keep your objections purely related to the ideas rather than the people they belong to! In other words: disagree without being disagreeable.
- Be prepared physically
Make sure you’ve had a good night’s sleep beforehand and have eaten properly; you’ll find it significantly more difficult to concentrate on an empty stomach or if you’re sleepy. Also, make sure you have all the materials you might need, like pen and paper or laptop, and that your phone is set to do not disturb, as endless buzzing and noises are an irritating distraction.
- Share all relevant information, and only relevant information
As the person responsible for running the meeting, it is your duty to provide all the relevant details and data to allow for informed decision making. As a participant, you should avoid side conversations and comments that distract from the focus of the meeting. Of course it’s nice to catch up with colleagues, but you should save that for a coffee after the meeting, when you’ll also be able to have a proper chat rather than just sharing snippets here and there.
- Encourage participation
If someone doesn’t seem to be participating as much as they should be, whether they’re shy or uninterested, you can do your best to engage them in the discussion. Ask them directly for their opinion on a topic; after all if they’ve been invited to the meeting there’s probably a good reason and they have some interesting ideas to add.
So there you have some simple ways to make your meetings effective and efficient. A final piece of advice we can give you is to relax! You now have all the tools at your disposal, and stressing unnecessarily is counterproductive. If you enjoyed reading this blog, you can find more of the same here, or if you’re looking for a job in the Paris area, consult our offers now.