1. Set meeting norms. Meetings can become useless and unproductive if there isn't a general standard for how they're held. Much like rules on the first day of class meeting norms help set the tone for meetings. My team agreed on some of the following norms which spills over into other areas of our work 1. Stay on track and conscious of time (respect everyone's time). 2. Maintain an open and honest space for communication. Giving each other actual permission to be honest is an undervalued asset that works wonders for healthy work conflict and debate. 3. Step-up/Step-back: don't overpower conversations but also don't hide out attempting to never contribute. These are just a sampling of norms but there's countless. This practice of setting meeting norms could bring on the immediate shift your meeting culture needs.
2. Fill your agenda with purpose. Our actual agenda outlines not only time allotments per discussion topic but these topics also have listed by them an owner and a purpose. Here are the following five purposes we use: decision, planning, evaluation, problem-solving, and information. Information is usually the most unproductive. Keep those short and sweet. These indicators hint toward the desired outcome of a topic and allow you to better achieve it.
I must acknowledge: Point 1& 2 were the result of consulting with the company Turning West (a firm that exists to make businesses run better).
3. Come prepared. Too many times people don't worry about a meeting until 10 mins. before they're actually there. That's anti-productive and everyone can see right through those employees. Be intentional in how you prepare for meetings to truly get the best of them. Prepare thoughtful questions and use those with peers and staff get others to improve their participation and contribution in meetings.
4. Share meeting agenda beforehand. Giving team members time to prepare is key, therefore receiving a synopsis of what to expect helps engage them beforehand and inspires them to complete bullet point #3. Of course this takes time, but it leads to productivity, so take the time to do this if possible.
There you have it - 4 quick tips for better meetings!