10 ways to improve your meetings

Do your meetings get sidetracked by the office bore who goes off at a tangent? Do meetings drag on too long wasting everyone's time? Or, worse still, feel like they have no clear purpose?

It seems these are common occurrences across all types of organisations where the majority of individuals are not happy with how meetings are run. In fact, 67% of workers say spending too much time in meetings distracts them from doing their job.

As more of our work interactions now take place in virtual meeting rooms, it's more important than ever that some effort is made by organizations to improve these experiences. At Docvox we are on a mission to help organizations have more productive and meaningful interactions. In this article, we give you our top 10 rules to hold effective meetings and prevent you from falling back into bad habits. 

1 - Define the purpose of the meeting 

Define the purpose of the meeting and decide if it's really necessary. Would a report be better? Maybe a pool to gauge opinion. If a clear purpose is found then this can be the guide for the meeting.

2 - Set an agenda before the meeting 

Using the defined purpose, decide what will be covered in the meeting and how long it should take. Make sure that this agenda is shared on time with the meeting participants and allow others to add/suggest any important missing talking points.

If there isn't a clear agenda then the meeting lacks the necessary structure and should be canceled or rescheduled.

3 - Open the meeting 5 mins early

This rule applies when holding meetings online. One of the hardest things about working remotely is the lack of social interaction and ‘water cooler’ chat that comes with traditional working environments. 

Opening the meeting 5 minutes early allows people to small talk and build relationships without eating into the allocated time of the meeting agenda. This small detail could help boost productivity outside of meetings. 

4 - Have someone designated to lead / facilitate 

Having someone take charge of the meeting ensures that the meeting sticks to the agenda and everyone has the opportunity to offer their thoughts. Without a facilitator, the meeting can become chaotic very quickly. 

5 - Only invite people who need to be there 

How many times have you sat in a meeting and realized halfway through there is no need for you to be there? Not only are bigger meetings harder to run but taking people away from their work unnecessarily leads to frustration and more stress for employees. 

On the other hand, you need to make sure all the people who do need to be there, such as key decision-makers, can attend. 

6 - Set meeting ground rules 

This rule applies to both on and offline meetings. For in-person meetings, decide on rules such as if technology/ refreshments are allowed or not. Additionally, If there is a presentation, make it clear when attendees should interrupt with questions or wait until the end. 

For online meetings make it clear if cameras need to be on and if people should stay muted to avoid interruptions and facilitate effective communication. 

7 - Create a parking lot or issue bin

Create a list of things that come up in the meeting but are not core to the purpose. This will prevent the meeting from being derailed and can be visited later to schedule a separate meeting if needed. 

8 - Minimise Department/Team specific Jargon 

When meeting members outside your team/department it's often easy to forget everyone is not familiar with the same terminology and jargon. Many people feel too shy to ask for clarification on terminology and therefore it should be avoided as much as possible. Failing to do so will lead to members of the meeting getting lost very early on. 

9 - Assign actions

With no clear takeaways and actions, it's no wonder many people feel meetings are a distraction. Setting actions with a timescale you can assure the purpose of the meeting is fulfilled. 

10 - Share meeting notes and key takeaways

Sharing the meeting notes serves as a reminder of the agreed action points and decisions. The meeting notes can be used in future meetings to track progress and follow up with attendees. Remember to also share any assets referred to within the meeting, where appropriate. For that you can use an AI powered smart meeting assistant such as DocVox that will help you take and share notes, assign task and stay fully organized.

10 ways to improve your meetings
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