The American humorist Dave Barry once said: ‘If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be “meetings”.’ Well, if you ever were in a really boring meeting, you probably agree with Dave.
It doesn’t have to be that way! An in-person meeting can be an effective way for you to communicate with your employees, and for your employees to communicate with each other. So read on to find top tips for holding effective meetings, why you should keep having them, and some insight from thought leaders in the industry.
- Tips for running an effective meeting
- Do we still need in-person meetings?
- Lessons from the best
- Final thoughts
Did you know there’s an ASMR of a boring meeting? However we don’t recommend you listen to it unless you want to quickly find yourself in the arms of Morpheus. Cancelled or unnecessary meetings are among the biggest time wasters for professionals, with 71% of professionals saying they lose time on them. So when planning a meeting, make sure it’s as efficient as possible! To help you out, we’ve prepared some suggestions for running a good meeting.
Tips for running an effective meeting
Set a goal
How often do you find yourself in a meeting thinking, “This could have been an email”? One of the most common complaints about meetings is that they rarely accomplish anything, so if you don’t want to be an inspiration for the next web series, don’t call for a meeting unless it has a clear goal.
Create an agenda
If you want to ensure that team members stay on track during the meeting, make sure everyone knows which topics will be discussed ahead of time. This will save time during the meeting as you won’t need to figure out what else you need to talk about. It will also prevent participants from bringing up irrelevant points or spending too much time on certain topics.
Get the materials ready
You don’t want to be scrambling around at the last minute trying to find everything you need. It might be tempting just to bring in a stack of papers or a notebook with handwritten meeting notes, but it’s much better to have all the printouts and other materials organised beforehand, so that participants can quickly flip back and forth between pages.
Start and end on time
Be respectful of everyone’s time by sticking to the meeting time. You want people in the room to be as productive as possible. If you don’t start on time, then people may get distracted or frustrated and it may affect their performance during the session. Don’t let the meeting go over time either, as the attendees will soon have trouble staying focused.
Use visual aids
But use them in moderation. While visual aids will help team members understand and memorise them better, they can sometimes distract from the point at hand or even slow down discussion if used incorrectly. When in doubt, stick with bullet points or just jot down ideas on a whiteboard — these methods will help everyone maintain their focus and encourage note taking.
Keep meetings short and sweet
The longer your meeting runs, the more likely it is that some people will lose interest or get distracted by other things happening around them (and start checking their phones). But do remember to offer breaks when needed to keep everyone fresh and focused on the topic.
Invite the right people
When you have too many attendees at a meeting, it’s easy for the discussion to get sidetracked. A good rule of thumb is that every person in the room should have a role in the meeting. If someone is not contributing anything relevant, then most likely they don’t have to be there.
No loose ends
Make sure you end your meeting with a clear sense of next steps and action items. Also, be sure to establish a time table and assign roles and responsibilities to each participant. It is also good practice to send an email afterwards that summarises the meeting and any decisions taken. Finally, encourage the participants to leave feedback to ensure your next meeting is even better.
Change the space
One element that can make the meeting more effective is changing the meeting place. You can hire a separate meeting room, go to a cafe, or find a creative space near you. Changing the space can reduce the usual distractions of constant phone calls and people coming in. It can also spark creativity and encourage focus.
Here at Tagvenue, we’re specialists when it comes to spaces, so here are some suggestions for interesting and creative places where you can hold your next meeting:
Even if you decide on a classic meeting room, taking the conversation out of the office can increase its effectiveness. If you book the space for a limited time, you will have very clear guidelines on when the meeting should start and end. Hiring a meeting space is a good option if your office is too small or you want to meet your business partners in more convenient locations.
Meeting in a restaurant is a good idea for sessions that are more focused on building relationships rather than working on a specific problem. A less formal setting might encourage participants to be more open and speak their minds freely. Some restaurants offer private rooms, so you can use them if you need more privacy. Meeting over a meal in a restaurant is also a good occasion for networking.
The casual cafe atmosphere, fresh coffee and snacks can help create a relaxed atmosphere that can support really effective problem solving. Getting away from the office can help attendees be more productive and creative. A change in scenery can help them stay focused on the task at hand without getting distracted by other things around.
A meeting in a creative studio space is a fantastic idea because it encourages participants to think outside the box. When they are not confined by their office walls, meeting attendees can be more creative, reflective, and insightful. It also helps trigger different kinds of thinking, so if you’re in for a brainstorming session, then choosing a creative studio might be the right idea for your team.
Do we still need in-person meetings?
You already know how to hold an effective in-person meeting, but in the age of remote work and international collaboration, you may find yourself wondering whether meetings like this are still necessary. The COVID-19 pandemic has also shown that a company can be run successfully via virtual meetings only.
While there are many great tools out there which can make a virtual meeting seem almost like an in-person one, there are a few benefits to face-to-face meetings.
If you want your team to bond, build trust and communicate better, then in-person meetings are a great way to do that. Studies have shown that even as many as 95% of professionals report that face-to-face meetings are an effective way of building relationships at work. Meeting in person can also boost the morale of the team. So if you’re looking for some ideas on how to do that, our article on building team morale might be helpful to you.
When meeting face-to-face, you can read body language and facial expressions. And when you have those cues, it helps guide the conversation so that it goes where it needs to go — whether that’s getting deeper into the problem or stepping back for a moment and rethinking things altogether. It helps improve communication and brings better results to the meetings.
In-person meetings also help you avoid Zoom fatigue. While there are many great video conferencing tools, which are essential for remote teams, spending hours a day on video calls can be a drain on energy levels. Face-to-face interactions help employees feel more connected and motivated, which can lead to increased productivity at work.
Lessons from the best
If you want to learn how to hold effective meetings, the best way is to learn from those who are doing it right. Take a look at what the top leaders in business had to say about meetings.
Steve Jobs gave three golden rules for meetings. He’s said to avoid meetings that had too many people. He also believed meetings should be kept as short as possible, preferably no longer than 30 minutes. The agenda for the meeting could only have three items on it, as Jobs believed too many issues would prevent attendees from keeping focus.
Elon Musk is also known to advise his employees on keeping meetings short and limited to only necessary attendees. He was against frequent meetings, saying only the urgent ones are needed. He also told his employees to leave meetings if they notice they’re not adding value to the discussion.
A surprising lesson on meeting efficiency comes from Sheryl Sandberg, former Facebook COO. She reportedly brings a spiral-bound notebook to her meetings, with all the points of the agenda written out. She crosses out each item as it is dealt with during the meeting. When the last item is crossed out, she ends the meeting, even if it only took ten minutes, to avoid wasting time.
As technology advances, more and more people turn to online tools to conduct work and stay in touch. But while many people have abandoned in-person meetings, they’re still a vital part of any business. They’re the best way for teams to share knowledge, brainstorm new ideas, and solve problems together. That’s why it’s important to know how to run them.
The good news is that there are plenty of ways to make your meetings more effective. If you follow our tips and learn lessons from the best in the business world, your meetings will change for the better, and your colleagues will be grateful for that!
What is an in-person meeting?
An in-person meeting is when you and your coworkers meet at a specific location to discuss something. By holding an in-person meeting, you get to talk directly to your coworkers about certain details. Getting everyone together in the same location has many benefits, such as building relationships, better communication and less fatigue.
Are in-person meetings better than virtual ones?
If you have a clear goal, an agenda and the right people, any meeting can be a success, whether it’s an in-person one or a virtual one. However, face-to-face meetings make it easier to build rapport and trust with your colleagues, which will help you work together more effectively. You can also see the body language and facial expressions, which can give you an idea of how people feel about something without having to ask them directly. These types of clues just don’t come through as well over virtual meetings.
What are the main differences between online and in-person meetings?
In-person meetings are great for face-to-face communication that’s more direct and personal. They’re better for fostering relationships and building trust. In-person meetings are also more likely to be productive than online meetings. However, they can be hard to coordinate across time zones and locations. That’s why online meetings are great for remote teams. They tend to be more flexible and don’t require much for the participants to join in. They can also be recorded, which allows for easy archiving.
What are the benefits of an in-person meeting?
An in-person meeting has many benefits, including creating a sense of empathy and connection with other participants. You can read and use body language to connect with each other in ways that are not possible through a virtual meeting. In addition, face-to-face meetings give you an opportunity to connect with each other on a personal level.