405.627.6326 matt@whyhr.guru

You have probably heard employees complain that meetings seem endless, pointless, and a distraction from being able to get things done. Those assessments of meetings can be painfully accurate all too often, especially when meetings meander and the original intent gets lost. However, meetings can result in positive communication and produce results when managers or other facilitators structure meetings for better engagement.

Just a few simple steps from managers on the front end can create effective meetings that stay on track and accomplish goals.

Identify the goal

The first step to accomplishing a goal is knowing what that goal is. Even if it is a routine weekly meeting or project update, having a goal in mind will allow you to weed out the content that doesn’t matter and keep the conversation on track.

Identifying a clear goal for the meeting also allows for reflection on the best way to address a situation. For example, a manager might be feeling like their employees don’t respect their authority or decisions. Setting a goal to clearly communicate that managers make the final decision can help focus the discussion and avoid venting or rambling during the meeting. It’s not about making employees feel like they’re in trouble, but rather about creating clear shared expectations and providing a place to discuss within the meeting.

Make an agenda

Every meeting should have an agenda, even if it’s a short one. Writing a list of bullet points and sharing it with attendees helps the person leading the meeting stay on track and cover everything they intend to cover. Also, people being able to read the agenda creates efficiency and focus on the meeting’s direction. It allows those attending and participating in the meeting a better understanding of what is happening and whether a concern they have will be addressed as the meeting progresses.

Share the agenda in advance

Meetings are most successful when everyone is prepared. The leader of the meeting needs to know the purpose and direction, but the most effective communication isn’t going to happen unless the attendees have a chance to prepare as well.

If you will need information from meeting attendees, note that in the agenda. Whether it is project updates or future plans, everyone benefits when they walk in prepared to share the information. This also allows meeting attendees to come prepared with their questions or to create a response to a question the meeting will address. The stage will be set for effective communication during the meeting.

Another benefit of advanced communication is the general message to employees that the meeting will be worthwhile, intentional, and effective. Attendees will generally view the meeting in a more favorable light and know their time is not being wasted.

Need help with how to structure meetings for better engagement? WhyHR offers training that expands on these ideas and more in our course, “Better Meetings for Better Engagement.” Get in touch with our team to schedule a training for your managers.

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