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Top Tips for a Productive Meeting

During the course of running a company, its essential that certain meetings are held. Typically, these are board meetings and a general meeting of members. These meetings need to be held whenever a decision needs to be made within the company, meaning they may be held frequently.

On top of these meetings, you may also have to host client meetings and staff meetings. When you consider all of these, it can feel like youre in meetings 24/7. If you find that you have to have repeat meetings for the same items again and again, it could be because the meeting is not being conducted properly.

To help you run effective meetings, weve compiled these tips to hopefully help you cut down the time you spend in meetings so you can focus more on growing your company.

1. Start on time

Start your meeting in the right way by starting on time. While this can be hard to enforce with clients, try your best to stick to it. Youll still find that you have clients that phone or email 5 minutes before the start time and ask to re-arrange to a later time or date; however, stick to your end of the deal. If you start the meeting on time and have a set amount of time allotted for it, you can better plan your day, which can be useful if you have more than one meeting lined up.

2. State your goals

By outlining your goals at the beginning of the meeting, you can keep everyone on task while it takes place. An example of a meeting goal with a client could be "This meeting is to outline the products offered by us and obtain feedback on prices and quantities." This goal is vague enough that a meeting needs to take place to fulfil the needs of the goal but is also informative of the needs of the meeting.

Although it might sound rigid, if you stick to the purpose of the meeting and keep circling back to it, youre less likely to veer off-topic into something else. This can make your meetings more productive by sticking to the original aims of the meeting.

An outline can be done in the form of preparation notes or a meeting agenda. However you decide to accomplish this is up to you, but you will soon be able to see that your meetings are much more productive.

3. Keep the meeting small

You may think that having more opinions in a meeting can only be a good thing. However, most of the participants will only be there as spectators. These people fail to provide anything useful to the meeting and are tied up away from the work they are meant to be doing. Due to this, it is recommended that meetings are kept to between 5 and 9 people. In this size of meeting, there will be enough of a gathering to get varied opinions, and it will also be small enough so that there are no spectators in the crowd.

Meeting with a laptop

4. Everyone walks away with something

When you're meeting with clients, giving them something physical will allow them to see something of yours that makes them think about you during deliberations. If your meeting is internal, then having employees leave with an idea of where they're going next or self-written notes can be just as useful. If you and your client managed to get an idea started on where to go next, then it's more likely that they'll come back to you to finish the idea and see it through to completion. (Note: don't outline too much of the idea, or they could take it to a competitor; say just enough to get them intrigued enough to come back to you). You could even write an action plan after the meeting on what will be completed, what the client can expect from you, and what you expect from them. This means there will be another point of contact and another opportunity to make them think of you.

5. Bring Solutions, not problems

If you've been developing a product for a client, you may hit a brick wall in the development and need to talk to the client about how to proceed. Turn this into a positive, not a negative. Rather than saying "Oh, sorry, I can't see how we can proceed with this, it just won't work" say something along the lines of "In its current form, it won't work, however, if we change it slightly in this way then it should still work as proposed, it may just look a little different". Here the client can see you've been thinking about how you get the product to work instead of pushing it onto the back burner and trying to ignore the problem.

6. Sometimes you need to get creative

Sometimes, you need to ditch the agenda and have a meeting of ideas. An example of this could be that the client has brought in their own agenda, so now you're working towards two of them. You know what you want to get out of the meeting, but the client has their own needs. Sometimes they may be on the same lines, but then at others, you may find that they are very different; it's basically like having two meetings in one. It just doesn't work. If you find yourself in this scenario, just forget about having an agenda, throw the plan out the window, and see what your client wants from you. This way, they can see that you're adaptable and willing to change when the need arises.

Just remember: There's no set way to how a meeting should go. There's nothing set in stone about the steps meetings should follow. Your company should hold meetings how you want them held. Just make sure that the meetings are productive, and everyone gets what they want from them.

If youre ready to have more meetings in your life and want to register a company, start the process today!

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