Senseless meetings are a major drain on the resources of any business and the productivity of its employees. Below are five suggestions from our corporate facilitators on conducting purposeful meetings that generate actionable ideas, spark creativity and empower your employees.

Have a Clear Reason for Calling the Meeting

If you’re calling a meeting simply because you feel too much time has gone by since the last time you had all your employees in one room, perhaps you should plan an afternoon of socials instead. Make sure the reason for calling a meeting is clear to everyone so no one will feel that their time could have been better spent elsewhere.

Set an Agenda and Stick to It

Take time to think the agenda through before you send it out to the people you’re inviting to the meeting. Set clear goals for the meeting and include a list of related topics that are open for discussion. Email this agenda to meeting participants one or two days prior to the meeting. This will give them enough time to go over the agenda and organize their own thoughts. At the meeting, stick to the agenda and use it to keep others on track as well.

Respect Everyone’s Time

Include the starting and ending times in your agenda and stick to them. When meeting participants know they have a limited amount of time, they tend to focus better and stick to the topics at hand. Make it absolutely clear that tardiness will not be tolerated. Refuse entry to latecomers, no matter who they may be. This will not only make your meeting go smoothly, but it will also encourage your employees to value their time and to be mindful and respectful of the time of others as well.

Be Inclusive

If you selected the meeting participants wisely, everyone who attends will have something valuable to contribute to the meeting. Our project facilitators believe it’s important to create an atmosphere of trust and openness to encourage everyone to speak their mind. Don’t let one or two personalities dominate the meeting. Monitor the discussion closely to make sure you get the thoughts and ideas of all the participants.

Follow Up

After the meeting, organize the discussion that took place into clear, measurable and actionable steps. Be sure to indicate who is responsible for each item. Distribute this to all the meeting participants along with the timetable for the project and the deadlines for the items for which they are responsible.

Here at Leadership Strategies, we offer facilitative leadership and meeting facilitation training courses to help your company leaders run focused and productive meetings. We can also assist you with strategic planning or provide you with an experienced and effective project or conference facilitator. No matter what facilitation requirements you may need, call us. We’re here to help.