Secrets All Leaders Should Know to Get the Most Out of Meetings

meetings productive Jun 13, 2019

By Adam Kushner

If you have held a meeting and, through the grapevine, you heard complaints that it was either a waste of time or unproductive, you may want to tune in to this article. With the right guidance, meetings can become great opportunities to promote a project and encourage productive dialogue. 

A great leader will realize the importance of meetings while knowing how to enhance productivity and minimizing groupthink. If you are looking for more ways to spice up your meeting, take a look at our last article titled, “How To Hack Your Meetings”. We go over ways of how to get the most out of your meetings. Now, we are going to specifically look at how a great leader can steer the ship before and after the scheduled meeting.

Make Sure Your Purpose For The Meeting Is Crystal Clear

Take a second and think back to a time that you were attending a meeting where it seemed that the leader was ill-prepared; one that had no previous communication about clear and concrete purpose. Do you remember the irritable feeling of, “Why am I even here”?

That being said, I want you to go beyond just a purpose statement in your memo. Get a clear understanding of what you need from the key personnel that you have invited to the meeting. This will allow you to be able to easily maneuver back to the topic at hand if their communication goes off on a tangent. If you are a visual person like me, consider creating a mind map- this will help when logging important discussions, decisions, and actions needed.

Ensure Everyone Is Understood

People can easily be misunderstood or misspeak, especially when put on the spot to talk in front of a group. Great leaders need to take a proactive approach to this to ensure that the message does not become skewed. 

Some pointers to ensure that everybody is on the same page are to speak in a clear and confident voice and at an appropriate pace. You do not want to speak too quickly or too slowly. If others have made a point that sounds vague, ask them to clarify their meaning. Also, consider creating an annotated agenda so speakers will have an idea of what to discuss when it is their turn. These guidelines are great for 2-3 person meetings just as much as they are for a 10+ person meeting.

Be Patient, Be Encouraging

Have you ever attended a meeting and the entire time the leader was just reprimanding everyone? Do you remember what was accomplished? If you said, “nothing”, you would be correct. In no way is this a good way to treat staff or conduct a meeting. 

Our goal as successful leaders should be to create a meeting that will create a respectful, insightful, and professional environment. We are able to do this by focusing on our strategy, information, and any decisions that need to be made. You don’t ever want to go into a meeting blindly. So make sure that you know what problems have occurred before the meeting so they can be addressed in a calm and professional manner.

Remember Differences Do Not Mean Weaknesses

To continue on our last point, a good leader will ensure that these meetings are a safe space and not condemn those that disagree. Think about it, who has been successful when surrounding themselves with “Yes-Men” and “Yes-Women”? Try to keep your meeting result-driven, not ego-driven.

To build trust from your team, you first need to demonstrate that you value and respect different opinions. Not only will this build trust within your team. it will create meaningful dialogue. The next big idea very well could be sitting at your conference table!

Post-Meeting Bonus Tip: Buy The First Round!

Yes, buying the first round will help you build a meaningful relationship with your staff. However, remember to keep it professional. That being said, don’t be afraid to get to know your team on a personal level. After a tough meeting, buy everyone a round of drinks or find a group activity that will help everybody relax and build camaraderie. If you don’t feel comfortable buying a round of drinks at the end of the day, buying lunch would be a great alternative. 

By treating each and every employee as an opportunity, you can create a culture where meetings are respected, and productive while being viewed in a positive light. Take lessons from great leaders and don’t settle for anything less than greatness!