Office meetings are an intrinsic part of running a business. They allow for the business to have a common objective. They also allow every employee and department in the business to know what they should be doing. Essentially, they allow everyone to work towards a common goal. As important and critical as office meetings are to the successful running of a business, they are also the biggest drain on time and resources.
Office meetings can be both, a boon and a bane for a business depending upon how well they are handled. If you use office meetings in the right way, you can ensure their benefits. The following are some office meeting tips designed to help you maximise the productivity of office meetings. Consider the following.
Office Meeting Tip #1: Small Is Productive
One of the most common mistakes that smaller businesses make with office meetings is that they try to incorporate every individual in the office into a single meeting. This thinking is based on the business owner valuing his time over the time of his employees.
However, the time of the employees is the real asset. How employees’ time is utilised determines how successful a business can be. Therefore, if you value your employees’ time, then your business will grow.
The first office meeting tip, hence, is to call multiple smaller meetings as opposed to one large one. The corporate world follows the two pizza rule in this regard. An office meeting should have only as many employees as can be fed on two pizzas. You don’t have to feed them two pizzas in every meeting but it is a good measure of how many people should be called in a single meeting. Typically, this amounts to four to five people per office meeting.
Office Meeting Tip #2: Set an Agenda; Stick To It
Office meetings are the least productive when they start meandering randomly. The second office meeting tip, therefore, is to set an agenda for each office meeting, let every individual in the meeting know of it in advance, and then stick to it.
Discussions revolving around the established agenda are good in office meetings but if they start diverging, then it is time to bring the meeting back to the point. Doing this isn’t all that difficult. Correcting employees and keeping them on track a few times will establish the protocol for future meetings as well.
Office Meeting Tip #3: Time It Right
Another office meeting tip to keep in mind is its timing. Most successful corporations time meetings at a time that is convenient for the business and the employees both. Some businesses keep office meetings at the beginning of the day while others don’t hold meetings till the evening.
What time is right depends on the nature of the industry your business operates in. For example, manufacturing businesses fare well when the meetings are held in the morning while service sector businesses will do better with evening office meetings.
Another time related office meeting tip is to limit people’s time to speak. It is common for some employees to ramble during office meetings in a bid to impress everyone. Nipping this kind of behaviour in the bud can establish the benchmark that everyone will try to hold to in the future.
Office Meeting Tip #4: Rewards and Punishments
Punctuality will also ensure timely completion of office meetings. Hence, one office meeting tip that you can use to keep people arriving on time is by simple positive and negative reinforcement.
Positive reinforcement can be implemented by giving the employees a choice of tasks and projects on a first come first serve basis. Negative reinforcement, on the other hand, can be done by requiring the last person to arrive to clean up the room after the office meeting is done. Appreciating punctual employees can also be used to inculcate punctuality in the office.
Office Meeting Tip #5: Monitor, Guide, Control
Office meetings are like animals. They tend to have a mind of their own. Sometimes, without you even realising it, the meeting can run on well past its allocated time. In other situations, it is also possible for office meetings to fail to take off in the first place.
For instance, if the agenda is particularly elaborate or complicated, it is possible for discussions to go on without surcease. On the other hand, if the agenda is particularly controversial or difficult, employees can end up circling the subject waiting for someone to take the lead on the risky topic.
Both these situations are undesirable for a business trying to be as productive and efficient as possible. Thus, the fifth office meeting tip advises business owners and office meeting chairs to monitor, guide, and control the direction in which a meeting is heading.
Monitoring requires conscious effort to analyse the meeting in a detached manner, guiding required deliberate intercessions to direct the discussions, and control ensures that the meeting doesn’t veer off into unwanted directions.
Office Meeting Tip #6: Tardiness of Technology
Technology is another element of running a business that can be advantageous as well as disadvantageous. For instance, using technology during meetings can cause two things. The first is that it can facilitate understanding of complicated concepts and ideas while the other is that it can needlessly complicate simple concepts and ideas to a point where people get confused.
Simultaneously, it is also possible for an employee to focus on using technology during meetings so much that it delays the discussions and the meeting on the whole. All this comes under the tardiness of technology heading.
Therefore, the office meeting tip here is to use technology sparingly during office meetings and only when absolutely required. It would not do to have every employee focus on presenting their ideas in elaborate ways and ignore the content part of the idea. Rather it is advisable to use technology as a supplement to the discussions as opposed to the crux.
Office Meeting Tip #7: Delegate to Everyone
Office meetings are supposed to encourage division of labour so that a single project gets completed in as efficient and productive a manner as possible.
This requires every individual to know their role in the process.
Misunderstandings and misinterpretations, thus, need to be avoided as much as possible. Moreover, no individual should end up with too much to do when another individual gets a simple aspect of the project to handle.
Effectively, delegation of tasks at the end of an office meeting is important. This is the seventh and last office meeting tip. The chair of the office meeting has to ensure that every participant understands what he is supposed to do. This can be done in two ways.
The first is to have concluding discussions at the end of every meeting where every employee explains what he has understood about the agenda and lists his delegated tasks. The other is to follow up on the office meeting after it has concluded via office memos and emails. Furthermore, setting milestones and inviting regular updates on individual projects and tasks will also be a good idea for the business.