Optimize Your Meetings with These 6 Components

In a startup, you cannot afford to have meetings with no outcomes/ accomplishments. Well, to be frank, no company should be able to afford meetings where all you do is share updates. (if all you are going to do is share updates, send me a compiled email please)

Having a great meeting can happen! But it takes preparation and follow through to ensure success.

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 12.24.02 PM

Here are 6 components to help you get the most out of company meetings.
Great meetings:

Agree on an agenda beforehand

If you have a structure to the meeting you can cut the meeting time in half…and are more likely to get through all the items. It’s not fun to go into a meeting with no idea what is going to be talked about or how long it will last. It will also allow people to formulate ideas to contribute beforehand.

Have a (singular) focus

Not only will this encourage people to stay on topic, but also will require only those pertinent to the discussion to be present. Every meeting should not be a “catch-all” for the entire group. If new things come up, table them if possible and schedule another meeting. It is likely some of these things don’t require everyone in the room (or may require people not currently in the room).

Employ a traffic cop

Someone needs to be responsible for reeling people in from “rabbit hole” or “in-the-weeds” conversations and avoiding group attack on an individual’s ideas/thoughts. They are usually awesome at keeping the meeting on time too.

Review follow-up steps at the end

“Great meeting! Now what?” If you want things to get done after the meeting, write them down and assign an owner and due date. Otherwise, you will probably have the same discussion at the next meeting. And the meeting after that.

End on time

Everyone’s time is valuable. Schedule the meeting for the time you actually think it will take. You will start losing people mentally (and physically) by taking 3 hours for a 1 hour scheduled meeting.

Avoid the “meeting after the meeting”

It’s not easy to make meetings work, but the payoff of a productive meeting is well worth the time investment. If you try even a few of these, you will see a noticeable change and run much smoother meetings.