In an ideal world, a meeting is the perfect setting to communicate vital information, exchange ideas, and problem solve; however, if orchestrated poorly, the results are underwhelming. Most working professionals have experience with both sides of this coin, but take little to no action to rectify the underlying issues of the persistent lousy assemblies that plague their work calendar. This attitude is unfortunate, especially since the latter significantly hinders the productivity of the entire organization.
Whether you're an employee or an entrepreneur like Adam Ferrari, the CEO and founder of Ferrari Energy, you need to understand the fundamentals of a productive meeting and how to implement that knowledge without evoking dread and yawns from the participants. In this article, Mr. Ferrari utilizes his entrepreneurial background and business leadership experience to review seven proven methods to help your next meeting succeed.
First and foremost, define a clear purpose of the meeting. This will help determine the setting's effectiveness. Depending on the goal, a conference call or email may prove to be a better use of everyone's time and resources. Moreover, justifying an in-person meeting beforehand will help eliminate groans and dismal behavior from coworkers.
2. Create an agenda
A meeting without a structured plan can easily go off the rails. To avoid this, summarize the purpose and desired outcome of the meeting along with bullet talking points. Email the schedule along with any supporting documents beforehand so that participants have ample time to prepare.
3. Invite essential personnel
Human beings are social creatures, yes, even introverts, and nobody enjoys feeling left out. However, it's crucial to set egos and emotions aside and invite only those who can add value to the meeting from a business perspective. Yes, there is intrinsic value in seeking varied opinions; nonetheless, out of respect for everyone's time and roles, avoid having too many cooks in the kitchen.
Before the start of the meeting, it should be clear who's running the show. The leader should stick to the agenda, start and stop on time, and interject where necessary to keep the conversation relevant.
5. Visual aid
Not every meeting requires a visual aid, but it can be helpful to set the scene, provide pertinent information to the group in bulk, and foster creative brainstorming. Just remember that presentations, e.g., PowerPoint slides, are intended to summarize and aid the conversation, not dominate it.
How often do people attend a meeting, sink into the background, and escape without having said a word? Of course, an individual may be naturally shy and detest public speaking, but they were invited for a reason and should be heard; odds are they have valuable input. As the leader, once you've addressed the items in the formal agenda, consider implementing a roundtable so that everyone present has a chance to provide feedback and final thoughts.
7. Take notes and circulate action items
Appoint a person to take detailed notes throughout the meeting. Before it formally concludes, review the records, address any concerns, highlight and assign action items, discuss expectations, and schedule a follow-up meeting in the near future to review progress. Don't forget to distribute the minutes afterward so that everyone has a point of reference for the next steps.
About Adam Ferrari:
Adam Ferrari is the founder of the Denver-based mineral acquisitions company Ferrari Energy. He is a chemical engineer by degree and is an accomplished petroleum engineer by profession. He also has experience in the financial sector through his work at an investment banking firm. Under his leadership, his company supported organizations including; St. Jude Children's Hospital, Freedom Service Dogs, Denver Rescue Mission, Coats for Colorado, and Next Steps of Chicago.