Your time is precious, and so is that of your clients, collaborators, colleagues, and professional contacts. When you call a meeting, you want to give invitees the confidence that you are maximizing your time together and will produce great results. We looked to career expert Amanda Augustine and the leadership development consultancy Dale Carnegie Training for seasoned advice on how to run an efficient meeting that satisfies your goals and those of everyone in attendance. Use these five tips to make the most of your time.
Set clear goals
When you invite people to a meeting, you must communicate the purpose clearly so attendees come prepared to tackle the task at hand. Make sure everyone is on the same page about why you are meeting and what you intend to accomplish. “When you set clear expectations, it’s easier to keep the conversation on track and within the allotted time,” writes Amanda Augustine, career expert at job-matching service TheLadders.
Limit how many people you invite
You know the old saying: Too many cooks in the kitchen ruin the soup. Don’t invite too many people to your meeting. Every person should be able to add value in a meaningful way- not compete to be heard.
Limit distractions from technology
Limiting use of technology in the meeting room shows respect for all attendees. Everyone has dedicated time to meet and must be fully present. It’s not only counterproductive to check your phone, but it’s also poor etiquette. “Consider creating a policy where attendees silence their phones and stow them away during meetings,” Augustine writes.
Don’t Meet Over Meals
Lunch meetings might be commonplace, but how time efficient are they? If you are on a tight schedule, meeting over a meal is not wise planning. If your meeting happens to coincide with a mealtime then “plan for it and schedule a separate time for eating,” advises Dale Carnegie Training, a performance-based training institute.
Sum up before you part ways
Make sure to budget time in your meeting for a summary. You do not want people leaving your meeting without clear next steps or action items. Before you disperse, make sure everyone is clear on the outcomes of the meeting and assignments to be completed.