Tips and Tricks

October 4, 2017 By Alix Hagan

Five Ways To Keep your Meeting Moving

October 4, 2017

By Alix Hagan

Read More from Alix Hagan

October 4, 2017

Five Ways To Keep your Meeting Moving

By Alix Hagan
Manager, Product Marketing

An estimated 11 million meetings take place every day in the US, and participants believe more about one third of the time spent in these meetings is unproductive. When participants lose interest they often stop engaging. Others may go off on rogue tangents that aren’t relevant to the rest of the team. As the meeting host, this can seem like a disaster when it happens, but there are a few tricks you can use to keep your meetings rolling and your participants engaged.

Plan it Out

A meeting with no structure is a haven for ramblers. 30-minute sessions can devolve into a hour long monologues, where no important points were addressed at all. You can avoid all of this by creating a simple agenda of all of the points that require discussion and in which order they should be dealt with. With a structure to follow, participants know exactly what’s being covered, and ramblers are put to rest by reminding everyone of the focus of the meeting.

Pre-Meeting, Meeting

Keeping your team on track will be even easier if the points have been discussed and decided prior to the meeting. this is especially important if the main meeting is a big one, like a planning meeting, or talking about the next big launch. Holding a quick conference call through is an efficient way to get everyone on the same page without needing to be in the same location – no pre-meetings in the boardroom required. also allows you to screen share, so everyone can clearly see the agenda for the meeting.

Time’s Tickin’

When preparing the content for your meeting, you should also keep an eye on timing. Reports suggest that around a quarter of meeting time is totally unproductive. Keep your meetings short enough so that everything important is covered sufficiently and leave no room for unplanned rants from any one individual. If you find that your agenda is too long for half an hour, split it into two meetings. In bite size chunks, information is much easier for team members to take in and think about.

Put Pen to Paper (or Fingers to Laptop…)

Jotting down key points can also help people process what they’re hearing and retain important information in the long-term. To encourage them to do this, provide paper and colorful pens to scribble with. By giving them a physical task, employees may engage more with the meeting as they have to focus on making accurate notes. This way they’re less likely to become distracted, and the meeting can power on towards success.

Exempli Gratia

Keeping your meeting moving ultimately comes down to you. As meeting host, it’s your job to motivate your team. So set the right example for the team. Unmotivated workers lose interest and can make the discussion wobble off track. By using open body language, an optimistic tone and your genuine personality, you can put coworkers at ease and assure them that everything is a team effort. Once the pressure is off their shoulders, the conversation can be more productive, and look towards making positive changes that benefit everyone.

Effective preparation to keep your meetings moving is all about considering what could derail the discussion. Being aware of structure and content can reduce the risk of unproductive meetings, and making sure you’re a supportive leader will help staff keep feeling focused and motivated.