Effective Meeting Strategies


If you manage a new or growing venture, chances are that you spend a lot of your time in meetings. Among others, meetings are critical to strategize new opportunities, assess different ways to accomplish tasks, set and update goals, and to ensure that all team members are aligned.

However, since ventures must focus the majority of their time and efforts on executing opportunities, there is a significant risk for them to spend too much time in meetings strategizing. This article provides some tips to keep meetings effective.

While researching this topic, one of the first ideas we came across was the following: "Meetings at which all participants stay on their feet are a third shorter than sit-down conferences -- and the decisions made in them are just as sound."

Reading this immediately told us that there is no "one-size-fits-all" strategy for effective meetings, since we have been in extremely effective meetings that have lasted two hours. If everyone had been standing, those meetings would have collapsed (literally and figuratively) within the first hour.
So, choosing which effective meeting tips to employ depends upon the challenges that your organization faces.

For example, do your meetings go off on tangents? Do you have clashing personalities within meetings that have trouble agreeing on action plans? Etc.

Here are five meeting tips that should help most organizations:

1. Set meeting objectives and an agenda in advance.

2. Don't invite everyone to the meeting; only invite the people who are required to make the key decisions and/or execute on them.

3. Establish a time limit for the meeting. It's probably best to keep meetings to less than two hours (most people get antsy even after two hours of a good movie).

4. When tangential issues come up in the meeting, determine whether they should be explored during the meeting or a new meeting set up to discuss them. If the latter, immediately go back to the main point of the meeting.

5. Make sure no one rambles. If someone is hogging the airspace, particularly if they are not making clear, concise points, do something to stop them.

And perhaps the most important tip is to avoid meeting at all. That is, if the goal of the meeting can be accomplished via an email, memo or report, the most efficient course is not to have the meeting at all.

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Ann Reid says

Short, concise, effective

Posted at 6:17 pm
Pete Prost says

I think you have to be really careful with the number of people you have at a meeting. If there are too many people, it's too easy for each person to sit back and relax and not really participate.

Posted at 6:25 pm
Mr Williams Ndukwe says

I think having meetings with your master mind group is one of the best options in business.

Posted at 7:39 pm
Kendall Kunz says

These are all great comments. Meetings and their style can be awful or great depending upon how the leadership behaves.

First, you leadership must be dedicated to excellence in all things, most particularly communication and respect for others. A mission statement is a good place to contain these values and executives first and foremost must be dedicated to not only living them but to being judged by them.

Second, meetings must have a methodology or tips, as you so provide above. All discussions, whether one-on-one or in larger groups (meetings) need to be set with specific objectives. Each topic must progress by opening the topic, clarifying the topic, developing potential solutions, and agreeing upon solutions. As other people interrupt with new topics, those must go to a holding bin until the topic under current discussion is completed.

Too often leaders like to hear themselves speak, or because they speak, people believe it. The best leadership listens, corrects (in a nice way) and allows correction and accountability to a mission statement she may have written.

Posted at 6:10 pm
Fred Kaplan says

A critical element of an effective meeting is preparation by the leader and the attendees. I insist on having an agenda atleast 24 hours prior to a meeting. Secondly I want to review as much information prior to the meeting as possible. Often people will have an agenda item and then pass out the supporting information at the meeting, then expect a decision during that meeting. This should not be allowed by the meetings leader.
Posted at 10:34 am
B.N.N.Prasad says

May I add my 34 years experience: Senior managers spend half their office time in meetings, half of those attending are not required, any meeting needs only half the time you spend, half the agenda items are not important and can be jettisoned, half the time one speaks is just that - make noise, half of what gets discussed don't reach conclusions. The final important half is the number of meetings; you need only half of them to succeed.
Posted at 2:00 pm
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Posted at 10:15 pm

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