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10 Secrets to Keep Everyone Awake in Your Meeting: Part 1

Holding a meeting is easy: send out the invitations, wait until everyone shows up, and talk, right? WRONG! There’s a right way and a wrong way to hold a meeting, and if you study these 10 tips and you’ll never hold a meeting your co-workers will want to sleep through! What else can you ask for?

1. Plan, Plan, Plan!
The most common reason meetings tend to go south is for the simple fact that not enough time is devoted to planning. It’s normally overlooked because it seems tedious and boring and can easily be skipped, but the productivity of the meeting is normally impacted.

Here are a few simple questions to get you on the right track. After you review these questions, don’t forget to come up with a simple agenda!

  • Where does this meeting fit into our overall goals?
  • Why are we meeting?
  • What is the purpose of the meeting?
  • Who should attend the meeting?
  • What is our budget?

2. Remember the Details
When planning big meetings or functions, it can be easy to forget details that need to be remembered. While you may think of yourself as being detail oriented, having a system to remember all that’s necessary is a foolproof way to make sure everything gets done. Checklists are the best way to remember all the vital tasks that are essential. Review your last few projects and see what went right and what went wrong. Make a checklist from that and keep moving forward. As you keep adding to your checklists they’ll be a sure-fire way to get everything done, and they may even improve your productivity as well!

3. Be Time Conscious
A major drag in a meeting is when someone monopolizes the meeting’s schedule and steals time from other agenda items. On effective way to handle this situation if you’re the meeting’s moderator is to simply interrupt the person, thank them for their input and ask them to hold the rest of their comments for the open forum item on the agenda (which is normally last on the schedule).

4. Get on a First Name Basis
Have you ever sat been in a networking function or meeting at a table full of strangers? Everyone hates those awkward moments! One thing you can do to make everyone at ease is to have everyone go around the room and introduce each other and speak about themselves. If the function is bigger than 15-20 people, you can break everyone into groups and have everyone perform a team building exercise. This will help everyone bond together towards a common goal, and hopefully make everyone’s network grow a bit stronger by the end of your meeting.

5. Meet Effectively Every Time
Make sure every meeting you hold follows a structure, has an agenda, and leaves it’s invitees feeling like they accomplished a task or resolved a problem. When people don’t know if your meeting will be effective or not (and even worse if they know it won’t!) they will have a very short attention span that may not even make it until the meeting starts. When people know you mean business, business can get done.