Work meetings are fundamental to carry out the collective activities of a company.However, we have encountered on many occasions certain meetings or approaches which far from pursuing the objective of being beneficial, end up digressing from the purpose and become extremely counterproductive.
We are sure that you know what we are referring to. In fact, we did a post where we gave 18 tips on how to make a workplace meeting productive.
How do we make meetings more effective?
In this post we are going to condense those tips into 5 key points for holding a work meeting which will be effective in terms of achieving its goal. This involves an action list named: the 5 Ps of effective meetings. 5 points (all of which begin with P) and whose observance facilitates the management of a meeting which pursues a final objective.They are as follows :
Let us analyse one by one how the following points can turn our meetings into beneficial work spaces which help us to coordinate future work actions of the elements of a company or of a group.
The first P is the purpose, that is, the reason for calling the meeting. Without a clear purpose it is very difficult for a working meeting to be effective. In fact, the more specific the purpose, the more difficult it will be to digress and therefore the message will be sharper and the results more effective.
In general the aims of a work meeting are limited to three options :
- Make an announcement from the organiser to the attendees
- Take a joint decision connected with a company matter.
- Debate or discuss ideas concerning a company matter.
Think of these three options. Anything not covered by this list is unlikely to be of use to the everyday work and correct running of the firm. Try it out. Everything fits into one of these three points.
This point refers to the participants, the members of the company, partners, clients… who will take part in the meeting. There are many variables included in this point but we must consider principally these:
- The size: How many people will there be in the meeting? The number is particularly important when taking a decision or sharing an idea is involved. With few people we run the risk of not taking into account the opinion of relevant members of the team. On the other hand, too many attendees dilute the focus of the meeting.It is the organiser´s responsibility to understand what the exact number of participants should be in each case.
- The homogenous group: If we want to foment debate and the flow of ideas for a more creative result, it is always preferable to create a group with diversity of mentality and worker profiles. However, when the aim is to be effective in a short space of time, a homogenous group will make a decision quickly.
- Profile of the participants: Cooperative vs competitive. Depending on the aim of the meeting, one profile or another can be of more use to us. Cooperative profiles will work towards an attainable goal via a joint effort. They think of the process. The competitive group will try to reach the best result independently, without regard to the rest of their colleagues. They think of the activity.
- Decision makers, strategists, creative and technical people: There are many professional profiles that form part of a productive process. Who should be convened depending on the purpose of the meeting? Do I need people capable of taking quick decisions and taking responsibility for the consequences? Is the presence of creative people capable of coming up with out of the box solutions required? Does my meeting need workers who are able to establish an objective and draw up a plan to achieve it? Or do I need people with extensive technical knowledge in order to know how to develop an idea? Sometimes, meetings only need one of these profiles, several or even all of them.
Planning is crucial for a well-run meeting. This allows us to have at our disposal all the information from the organiser, along with the necessary resources to face possible questions, doubts or reservations of the attendees. We have several rules with this point which make our job easier.
- Halfway rule: The organiser must have available all the information for the meeting never later than a point halfway between the previous meeting and the next.
- Report rule: The reports of the meeting must be organised by topics to prevent the meeting from dispersing into different points.
- Agenda rules:.Agendas vary subject to the items dealt with.They can be established by indicating the importance of those items: set aside two thirds of the meeting for current matters and the last third for the most recent agenda and ideas.Focusing on the most weighty matters in the central part of the meeting can also be a way of organising the agenda.Let us remember the most important rules; starting and finishing at the allocated times and that of not skipping a single item.
This point attempts to establish for the attendees some basic guidelines for participating in order to have a well-run meeting.
- Introduce the participants at the beginning
- Provide basic information and instructions of the meeting
- Indicate clearly what the decision making process will be.
- Use the appropriate means for presenting each idea.
- Encourage participation
- Offer a final summary
This consists of keeping a distance from the matters discussed, the ideas presented and the decisions taken. A good method is to gauge the opinion of the participants themselves or to make an assessment some days after the meeting in the following way, using the Stop, Start, Continue method.
- Stop: Points to stop as they did not work
- Start: New Points to begin with in future meetings
- Continue: Points to be maintained as they worked well