How many times have you joined a meeting which seemed to have a clear objective only to discover that the conversation has suddenly gone off track and you can’t seem to stay focused? Learning how to run effective meetings takes time and, unfortunately, teams often tend to fall into unhealthy patterns which lead to significant losses in productivity, time, focus, or even motivation.
By integrating the following tips into your workflow and being consistent over time, you will notice a shortened learning process. Ultimately, you can become the meeting aficionado you dream of much faster than you’d have thought.
Create and share accurate meeting agendas
Vague ideas on the topics that need to be addressed will never lead to productive meetings, especially when multiple participants are involved, and things can get out of hand in the blink of an eye.
The first step towards leading a successful meeting is to come up with an accurate list of topics. What are the most pressing issues you would like to discuss, and how do you prioritize them?
For a seamless experience, you can use our meeting agenda template to plan your meetings. You’ll find it easy to include essential details such as meeting objectives, topics or notes, and actionable steps. Once the plan is completed, you can share it with other team participants. This way, they will know what to expect ahead of time.
A vital component when learning how to run effective meetings is to monitor the time spent discussing each topic. Not doing this will inevitably result in essential issues being cut off, while others might be discussed for too long. All in all, the meeting can turn into unproductive chaos and keep its participants from performing their tasks.
Make sure to start your meeting on time. Have all the attendees in the same room before the start and stick to the schedule.
Employ the ‘Parking Lot’ technique
The Parking Lot is an ingenious approach used at the start of a meeting that serves two functions. First, it keeps the focus on the agenda. Second, it recognizes any crucial issues that are not related to the agenda and offers a window of opportunity to mark them down for future discussions.
Here is how you can make the most out of this technique:
- State your expectations right from the start – everyone needs to focus on the topics that are discussed. Otherwise, the meeting will be unproductive and will not end on time.
- Run through each point on your agenda.
- Monitor the discussion and don’t forget to add in your contribution.
- Acknowledge any critical points. Write down those that are not relevant for now and can be discussed at another time.
Write down your notes
Although an essential step in learning how to lead effective meetings, taking notes is underestimated. Participants will often forget to write down any ideas or questions they have, assuming that everything will be remembered at some point. More often than not, this often leads to vital questions not being asked and increased uncertainty over time.
One of the quickest ways to write down important notes during meetings is to make use of a template. We provide our customers with a meeting notes template that can be used either inside our app or printed and shared with your team.
Start by filling in basic information such as the date, time, and location of the meeting, the organizer’s name, or the meeting type. Continue by adding the primary purpose of this meeting, as defined by the presenter. As you go through the session, use the ‘Topics’ section to write down the topic that is currently being addressed and use the ‘Notes and Action Items’ to write down any thoughts you might have around this issue.
At the end of the meeting, use the ‘Key Takeaways’ field to list the main points that were drawn from this meeting.
Schedule a follow-up
A follow-up is that one element that ties everything in. As soon as the meeting is over, make sure to send up a follow-up to your team. Whether it’s through an email, a Slack message, or a phone call, a follow-up serves as a reminder of what has been discussed and what needs to be done next.
How to lead productive meetings? Practice!
When learning how to run effective meetings, it’s always best to start small. Put these tips into practice during your daily standup meetings. As soon as you are comfortable, take it to another level and test them during a one-on-one. Next thing you know, you’ll be able to run productive meetings at higher levels without so much as a blink.
To simplify your workflow, even more, Moqups offers a daily stand–up meeting template along with the one-on-one template that you can use to structure your meetings, save time, and increase productivity.
The daily stand-up meeting template
You can use this template to organize and manage agile team meetings successfully. Its design aims at providing a detailed task overview for each participant, thus helping team members to identify any road blockers that might interfere with their daily work. As a result, they can focus on their projects with a deepened understanding of the bigger picture and of other team members’ goals.
The one-on-one meeting template
It’s vital to hold these meetings at regular intervals to maximize efficiency for your team in the long run. Our one-on-one meeting template features a question-answer format, which makes it easy to adjust so that it meets your requirements and helps you tackle key areas of discussion such as performance, improvements, or suggestions.
Once you have explored all of our meetings-focused templates, head to our Business Strategy Templates page to discover even more templates you can use on a daily basis to streamline your work.