successful meetings

Successful meetings are essential for any organization to achieve its goals and objectives. However, having effective meetings can be a daunting task. This article will teach you the tools and tips to plan and execute successful meetings. We’ll cover everything from choosing an appropriate meeting space, setting clear meeting agendas, staying on track, maintaining focus during a discussion, and how to end on a positive note.

In the United States, there are around 55 million meetings held each week. That’s at least 11 million per day and over 1 billion per year.

Setting Up Successful Meetings

1. Determine its purpose. Before you even invite anyone, ask yourself what the objective of this meeting is and whether it can be achieved through a gathering of individuals.
2. Select an appropriate venue and time to accommodate your guests’ schedules.
3. Provide information about the agenda so participants can come prepared for discussion points or presentations they might have to make during the meeting. Make sure everyone invited understands their role in the gathering.
4. Moreover, Communicate clearly with all attendees what will happen after the meeting ends; follow-up action items must be communicated correctly to avoid misunderstandings or delays in achieving set objectives.

A leadership team is important in running successful meetings. Learn more about how to Build a Leadership Brand that Works.

Establish Objectives

Setting objectives is the first and most crucial step in having successful meetings. This involves identifying what you want to achieve and communicating that to your team members. Without clear objectives, a meeting can quickly become directionless, unproductive, and ultimately ineffective. It is important to realize what the purpose of the meeting is:

  • Is it meant to brainstorm new ideas?
  • To present critical findings or updates on a project?
  • To communicate goals?
  • Monthly meetings that update progress and goals?
  • Organize and plan for the next stage?

Setting clear goals from the outset creates focus and gives attendees a sense of purpose and direction when participating in discussions or presenting ideas. This helps keep everyone engaged and motivated throughout the meeting while ensuring that decisions made during this time are more likely to align with broader organizational goals.

Organizations spend roughly 15% of their time on meetings, with surveys showing that 71%of those meetings are considered unproductive

Set a Clear Agenda

Setting a clear agenda is essential to having successful meetings. Unfortunately, without a plan, panels can quickly become unproductive and unfocused. Therefore, ensuring everyone knows what will be discussed during the meeting by sending out the agenda beforehand is crucial.  This allows participants to prepare and gather their thoughts on the topics.

A successful agenda is:

  • Clear, concise and organized
  • List the main topics discussed during the meeting
  • Allocates specific time slots for each item
  • Sets a time limit for each case
  • Allow time for questions and concerns

An estimated $37 billion is lost per year to unproductive meetings.

Facilitate Discussions

It is necessary to facilitate discussions in an organized and productive manner during meetings. Firstly, set clear expectations for the meeting’s purpose, agenda, and desired outcomes. This ensures everyone comes prepared and focused on achieving the meeting’s objectives.
It is equally important to open the floor for discussion by allowing team members to share their thoughts, ideas, and opinions on each agenda item or topic. Further, encourage active listening and participation from everyone, ensuring no one dominates the conversation while ensuring that all voices are heard.
It can be helpful to assign a facilitator who keeps track of time, manages interruptions, and encourages participants to stay on topic. Finally, end the discussion by summarizing key points made during the meeting and establishing action items or next steps moving forward. This ensures that everyone clearly understands what was discussed and what needs to be done next.

24 billion hours are wasted each year as the result of unproductive meetings.

Follow Up

Once a meeting has concluded, it is essential to follow up with attendees afterward. This step can help keep everyone on the same page and ensure that action items are addressed. Following up after a meeting demonstrates professionalism and accountability and can improve overall communication within the team or organization.

  • Send out a summary of minutes or takeaways
  • Assign specific tasks to each attendee
  • Don’t forget to set deadlines
  • Finally, thank attendees for their participation

Ensuring Successful Meetings

Successful meetings require careful planning and execution. One of the most important aspects of a successful meeting is setting clear goals and objectives. This helps to ensure that everyone in attendance understands what is expected of them and allows for a more focused discussion. Another critical factor in successful meetings is effective communication. All attendees should be allowed to speak and share their thoughts, but keeping the conversation on track is also important.

About the Author Ben Shaver

For over a decade, I've guided growing dental practices and groups on how to use leadership and communication to build referable teams and memorable brands.

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