Following an outstanding meeting, participants will feel invigorated; have a clear to-do list in mind and a sense of direction. On the other hand, a failed and mediocre meeting will have your employees wondering if the meeting was necessary at all and if you weren’t just wasting your and their time.
The good news is that most of the elements that lead to a successful gathering can be prepared ahead of time. However, without preparing them beforehand, mistakes are almost certainly going to take place.
Here are 4 mistakes that usually occur during meetings and what you need to do to avoid them.
1. Lack of planning. Rarely will a great meeting take place in an organic manner. Actually, they result by carefully planning most of the important aspects. Make sure to define all the objectives in a clear manner and create a thorough agenda as well. You also need to leave some room for spontaneous discussions that may arise during your meeting. However, by having an agenda will help you make sure that you are able to reach your objectives in a timely manner.
In addition, you should spend some time considering logistics such as seating arrangements, additional materials such as PowerPoint presentations or handouts. Create a list of the items that are frequently required and make sure to review it before each meeting takes place.
When you have speakers on the agenda, you should take into account asking for their notes a couple of days in advance. By doing this you are able to not only tweak any content if necessary, but also avoid any unwanted surprises.
2.The lack of a designated facilitator. If there is no person responsible with taking charge, meetings can often be sidetracked and be perceived as a waste of time. In order to avoid this you need to assign a person with the right leadership traits who is able to reinforce the good ideas articulated within the meeting, reduce the volume of off-topic conversations, help continue positive discussions and even assign follow-up activities.
3. Failing to foresee or anticipate strong reactions. In some instances, controversial topics are bound to arise during a gathering. To be able to avoid some unpleasant reactions you should probably hold some one-on-one meetings with both your outspoken and influential employees so as to gauge likely responses.
Even if you and your employees are on the same page, by doing this you ensure that you are able to better foresee and prepare for questions or answers that otherwise could catch you off guard.
4. The absence of follow-up. Even if a meeting goes extraordinarily well, it may prove worthless if no one takes notes or outlines some follow-up tasks. Thus, you need to designate a person who attends the meeting to take notes. However, that person should not be the same as the facilitator. The best case scenario should be something along the lines of: the person should send a summary via email to all participants that took part in the meeting.
And while the person in charge is taking the notes, the facilitator should scribble down as well as the discussion progresses, the tasks that need to be completed. At the end of the meeting, the to-dos and the deadlines need to be assigned.
Last but not least, understand that even a great meeting can sometimes get sidetracked. Still, these guidelines may help you reduce the number of such situations as much as possible.