Inspire engagement: Tips to plan effective meetings

I recently heard a friend say, “I’d rather stab my eye with a pencil than attend this meeting.”

While extreme, her opinion of meetings is not uncommon among employees. This is a missed opportunity for employers. If employees spend their time dreading meetings and misunderstanding important objectives, then they are less likely to drive results that contribute to the organization’s success. Meetings are used for communication and planning, but they must be conducted effectively with specific outcomes in mind.

Meetings are a commonplace part of the employee experience, and the leader needs to ensure meetings are effective and engage employees. According to Meetings Suck? Make them Better, Tom Searcy discusses 5 tips to improve meetings:

  • Think Short: Focus on a tight agenda with clear outcomes to inspire engagement and productivity. Simplicity is critical for effectiveness. Employees should understand the objective of the meeting within the first five minutes, or the purpose is lost.
  • Go Light on Handouts: Prepare a presentation that includes key ideas and objectives, and then elaborate during the meeting. If you’re employees spend too much time reading, they are spending less time listening and are failing to engage with your message.
  • Collaborate: Don’t tell employees the solution to a problem, ask them. Employees will be much more engaged if they believe the organization values their opinion. They are also more likely to look forward to the next meeting if they actually participate instead of attempt to stay awake during a one-sided lecture.
  • Use the Ensemble Cast: Who is presenting and why? Make sure each component of the meeting is outlined within an agenda, so the group understands accountability and objectives for the team.
  • Follow-Up: In order for feedback to be effective, it must be immediate. Get in touch with meeting attendees within 24-hours to provide feedback and action items for the next meeting.

Unless meetings follow the structure suggested above, they will be less effective. Ineffective meetings indicate poor business communication, which negatively impacts the bottom line because employees will not understand how they contribute to the organization’s success.

What do you dislike about meetings? What do you think would make meetings more engaging and effective?


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