Tips from The Trainer – Making Meetings Work

September 08, 2021
MRA Edge
Engagement & Retention
Productivity & Quality
Read time: 3 mins

Many employees are heading back to the office, but many are still working from home, making meetings challenging for both the meeting leader and attendees.

With remote and hybrid work here to stay, how can managers run meetings that inform, inspire, and initiate appropriate action? How can they keep their onsite and virtual teams engaged and productive?

In our transitioning work world, leaders are choosing to have meetings with the hope of helping employees feel engaged. Unfortunately, many meetings are ineffective, creating frustration and time management issues. Have you been at a virtual meeting where some attendees have their cameras off? Chances are they have been in back-to-back meetings and are trying to get other tasks done.

How can we remedy this situation? First things first—before calling a meeting, consider the necessity. Meeting just to meet is a common complaint. Time is money, and unnecessary meetings cost your organization both so make sure your meeting is an appropriate use of time and resources. Calculate the cost of the attendees’ time and compare it with other tasks they could be doing.

If you’ve determined the meeting needs to happen, think about why each person should be there. Having the right people in attendance helps to make your meeting successful, and it also allows participants to know how they should prepare, so they can bring value to the table.

Your next step is to put together an outcome-based agenda. Use action verbs so attendees know what the results of the meeting should be. For example, instead of the bullet point “Idea Generation,” you could label it “Brainstorm ideas for making meetings more effective, using the Nominal Group Technique.”

When it’s time to send out meeting invitations they should include:

  • Why the meeting needs to be held, including what’s in it for the attendee.
  • Items for attendees to prepare, if necessary.
  • An outcome-based agenda.
  • A list of those invited.
  • What technologies are in use? If the meeting will be virtual include, “cameras on.”
  • The date, start time for each speaker on the agenda, and end time. (Important: Do not let your meeting run over!)

Keep the meeting moving along and keep tabs on your agenda.

The final strategy for successful virtual, in-person, and hybrid meetings is to make sure everyone is assigned action items. Make time at the end to divvy them up.

Poorly run meetings have long been a problem. Pile on the challenges of virtual and hybrid meetings, and you may have a waste of time, money, and energy on your hands. With planning and intention, managers can make sure their teams spend effective time together.

Knowing that hybrid and remote work are here to stay, MRA created the series Leadership Skills You Need Now. The 30-minute recorded presentations dive into 16 different topics, helping managers successfully lead their teams in person, remotely, or in hybrid settings.

Check out these video sessions of the Leadership Skills You Need Now series:

Members will save $100 when they sign up for the entire series or have the option to register for specific sessions individually. For more information, contact Registrations at 262.696.3319 or at [email protected].