Many of us have struggled at some point in our work when the meetings were a complete chaos, attendees were not aware why they were there, what to expect and if they had to contribute in the discussion – eventually having a need to setup a followup meeting once everyone knows why they are there. And while I can speak only for the IT industry where I work, I have seen this happens more often when we schedule a meeting in a hurry.
So here is a quick guide to making the meetings more effective. Have the following in the invite to make sure everyone is prepared well in advance and that the meeting is fruitful.
- List the Agenda “What will we discuss” – Yes, although this looks to be a basic step, but people often miss to write the agenda of the meeting. In the hurry of setting up a meeting, we often just send an invite. It is difficult to track back what this meeting was about. So the best way to address is to include the agenda of the meeting in the invite. Tell everyone what we are going to discuss.
- Attendees and their role “Who is required and why”- While everyone can see who is invited, it is also good to include a one line of what is in for them and what we are expecting from them in the meeting. Even the attendees will be prepared when they know they have been called in to gather some requirements / get advice / do brainstorming or to just listen to the proposal.
- Include the expected outcome “Why are we meeting, What should be achieved” – Set-up the goal for the meeting, what do you want to achieve from the meeting. If a goal is set, you can measure the meeting effectiveness. Also it will help to keep the discussion on track without getting deviated from the topic.
Measuring the meeting outcome will tell you how effective the meeting was, what can be included and what can be eliminated. Measuring meeting effectiveness is also a part of the continuous improvement process.
So next time when you want to utilize the meeting in the best possible way, follow these 3 simple steps, measure and improve!