Hacks for Scheduling a Group Meeting
Scheduling meetings are a tricky affair, especially if it is a long one and involves a swamp of people. Conducting the meeting and processing satisfactory results are even more knotty. The divine blessings of the digital calendars and meeting planners have made these cumbersome processes considerably easier.
However, they have also introduced new concepts, such as meeting fatigues. Some of the most common problems of back to back meetings include extensive tiring hours and uninvolved participants, which turns out counterproductive. There are several ways the organizer could effectively increase the productivity of a conference, and some of these include the following:
Setting agendas and letting others know about them before the meeting helps keep everyone on topic. Also, letting everyone aware of the topic of discussion helps align the conversations with the set goals that further drives better results. During long meeting hours, it is a challenge to keep everyone at bay. However, setting goals is an effective way to tackle the problem of keeping everyone on the same page while conducting an elaborate online or offline conference. Sticking to the decided topics helps save time and deliver winning results within the set time limits.
Set Hard Stops
Let everyone know you have a strict time line to finish the meeting before commencing. Charge through the allotted topics and set time blocks for each one. Follow the set time religiously and announce 10 minutes before wrapping up. Keep minutes during the meeting and discuss them briefly in the last time slot to ensure everyone is abreast of the new developments. Even if your discussions do not end on time, acknowledge that and end the meeting on time.
It is a good idea to take into consideration everyone’s opinion even though it differs from yours. It not only helps you see things from several perspectives but also allows a smooth flow of communications between team members. Allowing other members to speak up and voice their viewpoint helps discover loopholes in your plan, along with incorporating new ideas. Assigning contrarians is a constructive way to let the creativity flow and ultimately add to a fast return on investment.
Create Visual Aids
It is easy to lose the attention of your teammates during long meeting hours and challenging to keep them attentive. Visual aids are often an easy solution to this problem. Screen sharing, whiteboarding, or sharing a video that implicitly explains your theory keeps the meeting engaging. Not only does this make explaining easier, but also interpreting from the viewer perspective. Plus, it holds the attention of all, making the meeting or discussion more effective.
Another way to keep everyone alert during an elaborate discussion is to ask questions at repeated intervals and answer them. Along with aligning everyone with the ongoing topic, it is a healthy way to enhance communication between the team members. A question-answer session also helps clear doubts to a great extent and assists everyone to have a clear idea of the topics of discussion. To ensure everyone takes part in the meeting, the organizer can randomly ask participants to contribute their views and voice their concerns, if any.
Only Arrange a Meeting if Unavoidable
Often there are back to back meetings scheduled with a large number of participants who hardly contribute to the decision making process. When tasks that an email or slack can summarise have separate time slots allotted to them, this results in huge time loss. Arrange a meeting only if necessary and involve participants whose views are irrefutable for the process. Inviting a large number of participants only adds to the chaos and delays the entire decisive task.
Mark off topics for later discussion
When sessions are long, and the list of participants is lengthy, it is easy to get lost in a myriad of off-topic questions and answers that could have counterproductive results. It is as vital to set up agendas as it is to stick to them to drive winning results by the end of the meeting. However, sticking very rigidly to set goals may also prove vicious to your team communication and flow of creativity. Instead, try to acknowledge the relevant questions even if they are off-topic and ask participants to save such topics for another round. But make sure you do not discourage people from asking questions.
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