Every manager wants to conduct a great meeting that spurs the participants to make productive and profitable decisions. Some managers succeed, some do average, others fail and meetings go on. No manager fails on purpose – slip-ups, personal commitments, lack of meeting-conducting skills, bad planning, intense pressure from superiors or peers, and some other factors can contribute to a meeting’s failure. Here are some of the manager-related factors that could crash a meeting:
Factors That Can Flop A Business Meeting
- Do not circulate an agenda and ask participants to “wing it” during meetings – meaning that participants can suggest a topic, which can be discussed or discarded. Not having an agenda is a waste of time and productivity. Such meetings are mostly inconclusive and decision-making, if any, will likely be muddled and open to review.
- Schedule 30 or 60 minutes for a meeting, no matter how important the topic is. This time can be insufficient when an extremely complex situation is to be discussed. Therefore, managers must schedule a meeting based on the topic or agenda. Difficult meetings should not have a closing time – these should go on for as long as required.
- Start the meeting with a joke or a funny story. The participants will lap it up and think what a great guy the manager is. The truth is that managers should get to the point without wasting any time. Unnecessary hilarity can eat into the meeting time and even divert participants who came all ready to discuss the agenda.
- Don’t specify action items as the meeting progresses. Every meeting results in some sort of decision making. Actionable items emerge, and participants are made responsible for the action to be taken. If the manager does not flesh out the action item and assign accountability, the meeting will not serve any purpose.
- Allow people to come up to “think aloud” at the meeting. All participants must read the agenda and bring their ideas to the meeting table. No one should be allowed to think out aloud at the meeting because it can startle the other participants and shorten precious meeting time. Participants should be told to think through their ideas and present them in an email or at another meeting.
- Write the minutes of the meeting. Meetings need just action items – what has to be done, who will do it, by when it should be done, and what are the expectations. That’s it. There’s no point writing down the minutes – Joe and Jill attended, they discussed XYZ, it was decided to ABC, then the meeting moved to another QWERTY topic, and finally the meeting concluded with some more blah blah. There’s no need to waste time writing and reading the minutes. Just spell out the action items and you’re done.
To Sum Up
Now you know what to do if you want to conduct an effective and productive business meeting in office or at a conference center or wherever. Reverse the bad habits outlined above, and you should do fine. Good luck.
About the Author
Tammy A. Boyd, blogger and mother of two from Irvine, CA, spends her free time writing on self-improvement topics. She makes use of the services offered by www.empowerMint.com when it comes to choosing the best conference venues for their company’s needs.