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Tips for Running an Effective Meeting

Welcome back to the Pathway Blog, we’re happy to have you here! Today we’re tackling a pretty interesting topic in the world of HR: Meetings!

We’re sure you’ve probably seen or heard the phrase, “This could have been an email!” floating around in regard to meetings. It’s been around for a while, and we’ve got to admit, a lot of the time… it’s probably true. 

But what about when it’s not? How can you run meetings that don’t make your staff members want to run away?

While we know that you can’t always please everyone, we do know there are ways to make your meetings shorter, more valuable, and more effective. Let’s check them out!

1. Know why this meeting can’t be an email.

Not all meetings are bad — meetings are simply a necessary part of keeping a group of people on track and working together efficiently… but it’s still a good idea to evaluate before scheduling one. Ask yourself, “If this can’t be an email, why?” Simply knowing the reason will help keep things efficient and meaningful.

2. Set a structure and stick to it.

If your staff can trust you to respect their time, then meetings will be much less of a burden. This can look like a lot of things, but the basics include: 

  • Creating an agenda and following it closely
  • Starting and ending on time, as often as possible 

3. Start with the “good” stuff.

This one’s an important point for a few reasons! First of all, your staff is likely to be fresher and more attentive during the first half of your meeting. This is the best time to talk about the most necessary topics, as you’re likely to get better engagement and feedback from attendees. Secondly, it will help you stick to your agenda and timeframes. If the least important topics are saved for the end, it won’t be as difficult l to push them to a later date, and you’ll be able to end your meeting at the promised time. 

4. Make sure your staff has time to speak.

It’s easy to talk a lot when you’re running a meeting — and that’s fine! Especially if you’re in charge; it makes sense that you’ll steer the direction of the conversation. When every meeting starts to feel like a college lecture, however, things can get tedious (and frustrating) pretty quickly. Make sure you’ve got enough time in your meeting to hear from your staff members. It will break things up and make them more interesting, and it’s a good reminder that you value your staff’s opinions and ideas.

5. End with action items.

When a meeting only consists of announcements, it gets even easier to ask, “Why couldn’t you have simply put this in an email?” When staff members are able to participate in discussions about tasks and projects, and are then able to leave a meeting with action items to complete, they are more likely to feel engaged.

Purpose is essential.

What it boils down to is this: Are you having meetings simply because that’s what you’ve always done? If so, it’s probably a good time to sit down and re-evaluate. How can you ensure that your meetings are valuable and necessary? Trust us, you — and your staff — will be happier, more productive, and more engaged because of it!