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Improve your meeting management skills with these tips

If done right, meetings can be productivity powerhouses. Here’s how you can boost their effectiveness. By Priya Prakashan

Poorly-organisation, lack of clarity and rudderless conversations have over time given meetings a bad rap. Most executives prefer to avoid them as much as possible as they perceive them as black holes that suck up valuable time. But team meetings are an essential part of every professional organisation. Done effectively, meetings can result in the exchange of productive information and ideas, help in making decisions and formulating an action plan, and motivate everyone to get on-board. They are part of leader’s toolkit for success.

A recent survey by Harvard Business Review suggests that each year a weekly executive meeting at any large company generated about 300,000 hours of preparation time. That’s a lot of time being spent on meetings that aren’t always very productive. Here’s how you can ensure you’re hosting meetings that are more productive and make the most of this collaborative time.

Hierarchy versus Collegiality
This point cannot be stressed enough. Open discourse is essential for any organisation/team to thrive. So as the team leader you cannot let organisational hierarchy hinder the discussion. Ensure you get everyone’s feedback/point of view on the issues tabled. If someone tries to monopolise the conversation, gently and politely shut the person down and pointedly give another person a chance to speak. Don’t let seniority dictate the amount of input to be given. Facilitating an open discussion will lead to a broad range of ideas and opinions and provide an action-oriented and thoughtful debate.

Avoid being a data bore
Leaders often come to meetings armed with elaborate data that they share to showcase their point or drive initiatives. While information is always a great tool, be careful not go overboard and into information overload. Provide only the pertinent data, avoid detailed spreadsheets, 3D graphs, etc, which should be kept to a minimum. The idea is to illuminate, not confuse attendees with data overload. So steer clear of detailed spreadsheets with granular details and stick to just the key areas of focus and initiatives.

Actively listen and solicit inputs
One of the most vital habits of a successful leader is to listen to everyone’s inputs irrespective of seniority, role or performance. Failing to listen or refusing a contribution could restrain your company’s growth. Meetings are a great place to solicit inputs from a variety of sources that could provide unique insights. A good leader knows that solutions can come from the unlikeliest of sources. So don’t dominate the discussion, and actively encourage those who less likely to speak up.

Review goals
Provide precise key metrics that highlight the progress made by the team. It acts as a motivation booster when you provide updates on their progress towards goals. Reviewing goals will also make it simpler for the attendees to renew their focus on goals as well as discuss obstacles that might be hampering their growth. A review is also a great way to appraise their priorities and see if they’re in line with business goals.

Photograph: Katemangostar – Freepik.com 

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