Collaboration is an essential part of doing our best work—and that will never change. But what happens if that process is blocked because you can’t find a space to meet? Or the actual meeting itself is full of technical or communication issues?
It may seem like the most basic of workplace tasks, but room booking and meeting management are clearly rife with problems––for everyone. From CEOs to workplace and IT teams to employees, meeting issues don’t discriminate. Over a quarter of 1,000 office workers surveyed by Wakefield Research (26%) say room booking and meeting management are tedious processes.
There is so much work that goes into each and every meeting. With better management practices, you can do a lot to alleviate common meeting hurdles. Here’s a few ideas of what to do before and during your meeting to make sure it goes well and meaningful work gets done.
Decide how to spend meeting time
You know you need to set up a meeting of the minds to go over the key details and deliverables of a new project. But even if those details are yet to materialize, you can still anticipate what topics to cover based on expected outcomes. Writing out how you’ll spend the meeting time, including any major goals, helps to prioritize what has to be discussed.
This brainstorming document can also serve as the meeting agenda. Go through and create action items with specific time allocations for discussion to help keep things moving and on track. This will be a huge help during the meeting to make sure everything gets done.
Meeting management pro tip: Review the agenda––before the meeting starts
Have you ever attended a meeting, only to find yourself searching for time later on to go over all of the items that didn’t get a chance to be discussed? Despite our best intentions, making sure everything gets accomplished can be tricky.
One way to avoid going into meeting overtime or having to schedule another meeting is to begin each meeting with a brief review of the agenda. This helps make sure everyone is on the same page with the schedule and topics of the meeting. It also helps attendees to better prepare to participate, focus their responses, and get the most out of the time.
Create opportunities for in-person and remote meeting attendees to participate and stay engaged throughout your meeting
To make sure all of your meeting attendees stay engaged and feel included, it’s important to be intentional about participation. Whether you and your team are all working remotely, or just one person is, here are three ways to do this.
- Begin the meeting by checking in and saying hello. As the driver of the meeting, introduce yourself, then go around the room and ask remote attendees to chime in if there are any.
- Go over general etiquette for the meeting. Ask everyone to mute when not speaking, and to make sure they unmute before speaking.
- Take pauses throughout, such as after each agenda item, to get consensus that everyone understands. Ask if there are any questions––and be sure to ask remote attendees specifically––before moving on to the next item.
Make sure there is a note-taker––and that meeting attendees know what their next steps are
The best meetings happen when all participants are prepared, engaged, and ready to contribute. However, sometimes when a lively conversation or intense brainstorming session concludes, there are little to no notes of all of those good ideas––and, people aren’t sure what to do next or who is responsible for doing it.
Take notes and tag clear action items with the person responsible for follow-up. This ensures meeting attendees are accountable for what was discussed. They also know how they are expected to contribute to keep projects on track.
Meeting management challenges create real friction between employees and can affect their ability to engage and do their best work. While your workplace may show symptoms of ineffective meeting culture, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Get the complete room booking and meeting management checklist packed with tips and a PDF download for on-the-go resource with ways to dial in your workplace meeting strategy.