By Angela Blue
We’ve all fallen into this professional pitfall at some point in our careers: the unproductive meeting. It’s the “short” session that lingered on for two hours, the meeting created just to be meeting, or the seemingly constructive conference that resulted in … well, no results. While meetings are essential for effective communication, time is a valued commodity and shouldn’t be wasted on poorly planned gatherings. Here are five tips from local professionals on how to prepare and execute focused, productive and efficient meetings:
1. Don’t meet just to be meeting. Know why you are meeting. Be clear on your intentions. Make a couple of goals for the meeting itself. Be clear on your outcomes. Be clear with your ask for the meeting, and send out a very clear agenda ahead of time with any relevant material that participants may need to review to weigh in.
—Shelley Smith, Owner of Premier Rapport, Inc.
2. Start on time. State how long the meeting will be. Finish on time. Ask people their opinion during the meeting.
—Bennett Zier, Vice President of Entercom
3. Limit seating. Ensure 100 percent of chairs are filled with the right people in the right meeting at the right time. Consider everyone's time and the company's budget to be sure that each person seated in a chair brings value to the meeting.
—Angela D. Reddix, Founder, CEO/President of ARDX
4. Keep your meetings action oriented. It's easy in a group of people to say, "Yes, let's do this and this," but without identifying the next steps and their owners, progress will stall. Each person in the meeting should be focused on capturing their action items, with an optional group recap at the end.
—Drew Ungvarsky, CEO and ECD of Grow
5. If you are testing an idea with a client or business partner, consider a two-page max executive summary. It should outline the concept and how it lines up to their objectives. The days of long PowerPoints are gone. Give your business partners something they can easily summarize in under five minutes, as oftentimes there will be multiple decisionmakers that may not be in the room.
—Kari Jacobs, President and General Manager at WVEC ABC13