The 5 golden rules of a successful meeting
We can spend an incredible amount of time in meetings. It doesn’t matter whether they are held remotely or not. However, a recent survey of our users shows once again that all too often, participants in these meetings come away with a mixed feeling: meetings that are too long and where it is not clear what has been decided and who is in charge of what.
We have no time to waste. Life is too precious to spend too much time in fruitless meetings.
Here are our tips for making your meetings more effective. Nothing magical, of course. But a few short rules are worth remembering.
- Define the objectives
- Plan the date of the meeting
- Define the agenda
- Stick to the schedule
- Take minutes
1) Define the objectives
There is no point in meeting if no objectives have been set. Even the pleasure of getting together is a worthy objective. It is important that this is clearly stated so that everyone knows why they are there.
It is important to define these objectives so that both the participants and the organiser can be well prepared.
A meeting is always a result of what everyone brings to it.
Also remember to communicate these objectives clearly and provide participants with the information they need to make quick and informed decisions.
However, avoid flooding your participants’ email inboxes with too much information. Favour solutions where the participants can find all the documents before the meeting that will enable them to understand the ins and outs of the decisions that will have to be taken.
Our advice: Set a limited number of objectives per meeting. Ideally, you should have only one so that you can invite and mobilise the right people and only the right people.
2) Plan the date of the meeting
Don’t leave it to chance to get the right people for your meeting.
The quality of your meeting and its effectiveness will often depend on whether the right people are gathered around the table, whether it is virtual or not.
And the right people are often those who are least available.
In order to get the right people, it is therefore important to ensure that they are available well in advance.
Ideally, you should make regular appointments with your participants so that you can block these dates in their diaries.
Our advice: Don’t hesitate to send your participants agenda blockers well in advance. Their diaries do not fill up 6 months in advance either.
3) Define the agenda
It is important that all participants know in advance what is on the agenda of your meeting. If you have not translated your objectives into a structured agenda, it is likely that your meeting will not have the desired effect.
So list the items you want to discuss, even try to word the proposed decision you want to achieve, and allocate to each item the estimated time needed for the presentation of the item, the ensuing discussion and the decision-making process.
If you are not the person presenting an agenda item, insist that you are told in advance how much time is needed to deal with the item. It would be unfortunate if that person, through lack of communication or preparation, were to take over the whole meeting.
If possible, communicate your agenda to the meeting participants in advance and invite them to prepare their questions or comments before the meeting starts. The idea is of course to prepare the participants as well as possible and not to kill the debate.
Our advice: Make a concise agenda available at least a week before the meeting to allow your participants to prepare properly for their meeting.
4) Stick to the schedule
Meetings that last for hours are bad enough. But if these meetings last longer than expected, it quickly becomes hellish.
The risk is of course that your participants get tired and don’t perform at their best, or even worse, that some of them leave your meeting. While it is generally considered that the ideal length of a meeting is a little less than 40 minutes, you should also bear in mind that the attention span of your participants decreases considerably after one hour of meeting time.
If you have prepared your agenda to capture the attention of your participants, don’t get carried away by unexpected discussions that would lead you to exceed the time you have allotted.
Our advice: if appointing a “time keeper” can be interesting, be sure to use a solution that offers a timer visible to the organisers so that they can monitor the respect of the timing. However, avoid giving participants access to the timer. Noticing that the time is up will only make them more bored.
5) Take minutes
Have you ever wondered about the decisions taken a few days after your meeting? Nothing is worse than leaving a meeting without minutes. And yet writing minutes in a meeting can be complicated for the meeting secretary.
Equip yourself with the tools that will allow you to write up the minutes during the meeting, even if they are in telegraphic style, and make sure you submit them to your participants immediately after the meeting. Give them the opportunity to comment, but above all invite them to approve the minutes quickly.
Also make sure that the minutes are shared with all participants and that they can easily find them if they need them.
Our advice: Use a secure collaborative platform that allows each participant, and only the participants, to approve the minutes of the meeting. Make sure that this collaborative platform allows you to archive your documents securely.
In conclusion, never forget to take the necessary time to determine the tool with which you are going to organise your company’s meetings. There are of course various tools that you probably already have, such as Outlook or Teams. But when choosing your tool, try to find all the features you need. Avoid having to juggle different tools simultaneously and favour platforms that integrate these functionalities.
Do not hesitate to make an appointment for a quick presentation of our solution by clicking here: https://www.digital-meeting.be/reserver-une-demo/.