How to get the most out of meetings

How many times have you been hauled into a meeting only for it to swerve off topic and result in nothing really being achieved? Probably more times than you care to admit. For a number of years there has been a culture of having meetings for the sake of having meetings – quite often an email would have sufficed.

As a leading office fit out company we are no strangers to designing and building effective meeting spaces. In fact, we pride ourselves on creating break out rooms and environments which really contribute to productivity and collaborative working. That’s why we searched the internet to find some top tips for getting the most out of your meetings.

A Clear Leader

Make sure that there is one person leading the meeting and that you are all there to achieve a clear goal. Most of the time wasted in meetings is down to a lack of clarity. Identifying goals and how to achieve them will help your meeting be the most productive it can be.

Clear means of communication

The way in which you communicate will depend on the type of goals you have set for your meeting. If you are there to present or educate you will communicate in a much more structured way. If you are there to get people of different skills or opinions to work collaboratively you will have to have a much more free-form style of communication. This more fluid approach obviously takes more time to achieve your outcome but with careful policing the leader of the meeting will be able to extract the most relevant information from the most appropriate sources.

Lead the discussion

It is up to the meeting leader to balance conflicting perspectives, push through obstacles and decide how to spend time wisely. Being assertive and open-minded in your leading of the discussion can uncover new ideas and solutions – be careful not to dismiss inexperienced colleagues they view problems from unconventional angles.

One thing at a time

This is not always achievable but ensuring that you don’t move from one topic to the next without gaining a solution or closure can be counter-productive to the meeting itself. Make sure as the meeting leader that you are satisfied you have the conclusions you require before moving on.

Keep it logical

Some meetings can get heated and emotions can run high. It is important to remain calm and keep the objectives of the meetings at the forefront of your thinking at all times. Logical arguments are far harder to shut down than emotional arguments, make sure your team don’t confuse feelings with facts.

Personal Responsibility

All too often meetings are concluded with people wandering away thinking “so, am I supposed to do something?” Make sure that anyone who is required to do something is clear on their delegated task. This includes group tasks, if you have come to a decision within a group – take responsibility to ensure any tasks are completed.

The two minute rule

This is a fun one to enforce. The two minute rule gives a team member two minutes of uninterrupted time to get their thoughts and opinions across. This means that everyone gets a fair opportunity to speak without being shot down or spoken over.

Fear the fast-talker

Have you ever been in a meeting where somebody has spoken so quickly, using so much jargon that you’re not even sure what has been agreed? Fast talking is a way of pushing your agenda without giving any opportunity for people to analyse what you are saying and contributing. Fast talkers tend to rely heavily on technical nomenclature and prey on people keen to not appear to be stupid. If this happens, simply ask them to slow down, a little self-deprecation can help put your fellow flummoxed team at ease.

Complete conversations

The main purpose of any meeting is to achieve some sort of completion. Whether it is to complete a specific task or coming to an agreement on a project strategy. Whatever happens remember that any conversations which fail to reach a conclusion are a waste of time. When a conclusion is achieved make sure it is recapped and added to a clear to do list.

We realise that we’ve painted a picture of meetings being aggressive free-for-alls in need of policing, but this is just worst case scenario. If you take these tips as a guide you’ll be sure to stay on topic and have solid outcomes to your meetings.

Get in Touch

If you would like to speak to a member of our team about your workplace requirements make sure you give us a call on 01344 303504 or email us. We are experts in commercial office fit-out so, whether you are looking for a major overhaul or simple alterations to your existing workspace, get in touch. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.


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