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Ask most employees in any company what some of their biggest frustrations are and pointless meetings will likely appear fairly frequently. There is often a joke mentioned in office settings that certain people have meetings about meetings. As a good leader, if you are calling a meeting, then there are certain things you need to factor into the equation. This article is designed to help you organize productive, efficient meetings. Meetings are important and can be beneficial to every company, provided they are organized and executed properly.

What Is The Purpose Of The Meeting?

Thousands of meetings take place every day, but how many of those meetings actually achieve anything? According to this report, $37 billion is wasted every year in unnecessary meetings. Some companies have weekly meetings, which seem to take place more out of habit, rather than for a specific reason. If you are about to organize a meeting, think very carefully about the purpose of that meeting. What is your end goal? Who needs to be present? Is a proper meeting necessary, or could your goals be achieved via email? Even if a meeting is essential, having a focus and purpose will ensure that the meeting runs more effectively. When inviting people, clearly specify the reasons for the meeting, as this will ensure that everyone attends the meeting with clarity and understanding of the aims. You could even consider delegating certain aspects of the meeting to individual people to encourage more effective participation.

Body Language and Focus Are Very Important

In the modern, connected world we live in, people find it very difficult to disengage with their cell phones. It is neither productive nor polite during a meeting for people to be checking emails, responding to text messages, or any other disrespectful things during the meeting. Likewise, body language within a meeting can significantly affect the productivity of the meeting. If you or any other team member are distracted or physically show a lack of interest, this will quickly spread to the entire team and the presenter. That is another reason why short, focused meetings are much more productive than long, directionless meetings. How you appear to others around the conference table truly does indicate your engagement level and is visible to all.

Do Not Waste Time Trying To Convince Others

It is highly unlikely that in the course of a 30-minute meeting you will be able to change a participant’s opinion. If anything, this can be counterproductive, as you will waste time in the meeting and potentially push people further away from your idea by overdoing your agenda. In general, people like to believe that their opinion is correct, and efforts to prove them wrong in a public forum are highly likely to fail, as reported in the Yale University Attitude Change Approach report. The art of persuasion requires a much more subtle approach, so don’t make antagonistic statements such as: “I will change your opinion” or “By the end of this meeting, you will realize that this is the best option for all concerned.” The best practice is to present your argument without inflammatory statements. It is also beneficial to highlight some of the flaws and negative aspects of your argument, and your solutions to these issues. This will demonstrate that you have considered all options before coming to your decision and understand the opposing side’s argument, which will increase the likelihood of people coming around to your way of thinking.

Discuss Your Ideas and Concepts With Others Before The Meeting

If you are presenting a proposal, it is strategic to test out your ideas on others beforehand. If you have discussed your ideas and concepts with others before the meeting, you will be more prepared for possible objections or arguments during the meeting and will be better equipped to answer questions. Doing so also means you’ve pre-exposed some of the team to your idea, giving them time to digest the information beforehand and possibly gain their support ahead of the meeting.

Meetings are still very important to the success of a business; the important thing is to make those meetings worthwhile and beneficial to everyone who attends. By focusing your meetings and having a clear purpose and achievable goals, company meetings will become more productive and people will actually see the value in attending.

Looking for more resources on how to run a successful meeting? We have you covered.

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