Effective Meetings: The Ultimate Toolbox A necessary requirement for organisations that scale is to hold meetings. We most likely have all experienced ineffective and tiresome meetings. Meetings where you have to go through a never-ending pile of papers and documents and that seem to drag on forever. There should be a more effective way to organize meetings, right? Luckily, there are a lot of tools that can help you organize your meeting to make it more effective. These tools can help organizations get more out of a meeting and do it in a more time efficient way. But where do you find these tools? Look further no more. We provide the ultimate toolbox for meeting organizers, uniquely tailored to their specific needs. So what are meetings for? They have several functions: They set the goals and focus for the team; Ensure a boost of energy for the office; Motivate team members. Meetings achieve desired outcomes like the following: A decision; Ideas; Status reports; Communicate something; Make plans. There are only three good reasons to hold a meeting: Brainstorming Delivering info Gathering info When you clearly identify the purpose of a meeting to both yourself and the people present, all concerned can start to prepare for the meeting. To run a perfect meeting, we created: ‘Effective Meetings: The Ultimate Toolbox’ How does it work? Study the basic rules of effective meetings, as layed out in the toolbox. Pick ideas/experiments and implement them. Feel free to add to the toolbox or drop tried and tested but failed items as needed. Quickly jump to: How to get to better decisions Fewer / shorter meetings What you can do as an attendee Get stuff done. Stop meeting. Technology Extra’s Tool #1: Restate the goal at the beginning of the meeting You achieve: A team that is focused and knows what the meeting will be all about. Tip: Keep your comments regarding the subject of the meeting to yourself and leave other issues for another time. Tool #2: Say it in 5 words How to make your message stick? Say it in 5 words: ‘Today we decide on…’ Stick to the agenda / do not allow scope creep Scope creep is what happens when changes are made to the scope of a project without any control. Tool #3: How to prevent scope creep in meetings Make the meeting scope clear when the meeting begins; Secure agreement from the participants about the meeting scope; Know the precise question that the team should be addressing; Focus on context before meetings rather than content; Know the right questions and the proper sequence to ask them. Tool #4: Plan out five bullet points Want to stay on subject, but there are many issues that by association pertain to what the meeting addresses? Plan out five bullet points These will all apply to the different dimensions of the subject, but will keep the scope of what will be discussed in check. No deviating from these 5 bullet points is allowed. Tip: Use a competent meeting facilitator. Tool #5: Build real-time agenda based on input from the team If a meeting facilitator is not aware of all the ins and outs that apply to the subject of the meeting, input from members of the meeting is allowed. At the start of the meeting members of the team may submit all of their input for discussion points. A real-time agenda is hereby created. When the agenda is set, no discussion points may be added. How to structure your agenda Read these blogs on how to structure your agenda for the perfect meeting: How to Design an Agenda for an Effective Meeting How to create an Agenda, Step by Step Start on time Meetings that do not start on time take longer and are less effective. Why they are crucial: It promotes productivity A meeting that starts five minutes late will be eight percent less productive. It makes a good first impression Starting on time will convince everyone involved of your dedication to the subject matter and your own punctuality. It shows you value attendant’s time By starting a meeting on time, moderators are showing that they value the time of their attendants. When meetings start and end on time, they build a reputation of competence, respect and professionalism. Tool #6: Start at odd times so nobody forgets (e.g. 8:37) This sends a strong but unwritten message about punctuality and purpose. When you say the meeting starts at 8:37, it’s clear you mean exactly 8:37. Tool #7: Make people sing when late A couple of minutes late? No mercy. You sing. ‘Chicago – Does Anybody Know What Time It Is’ Tool #8: Lock the door so people cannot come in after the start of the meeting Limit the number of people, but…. make sure to include the right people: Key decision makers for the issues involved; People with information and knowledge about the topics to be discussed; People who have a responsibility to or a stake in the issues; Those who need to know about the information you have to report in order to do their jobs; Anyone who will be required to implement any decisions made.