How can business owners and managers turn an unproductive meeting into a productive one? If you have these questions in your mind, read through this article as explains a wide range of techniques that help run a productive meeting. If you're interested in learning how the Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) framework can enhance the efficiency of meetings, read to the end.
Tips for Focused and Inclusive Meetings
Clear Goals and Agenda
The most quoted reasons for unproductive meetings are vague goals and poor agenda. To make a meeting productive, develop clear goals and a well-structured meeting agenda. The agenda is there to communicate what a participant can expect from the meeting. The synchronization between goals and participants’ expectations increases the efficiency of meetings.
Ensure Every Voice is Heard
An inclusive meeting is one where every team member gets a chance to voice out their opinions. To conduct a productive meeting, create an inclusive environment where every participant feels that their opinions are valuable decision-making inputs. People come prepared to meetings if they know that their opinions are valued and considered.
Engage and Involve Participants
Encouraging team members to take written notes by hand would help engage them in the meeting. If possible, break the meeting into sections, with each section being led by a different person. Assigning roles to each team member before the meeting starts would also help. For instance, assign the role of facilitator to one team member; make another team member a note taker. According to John Medina, a molecular biologist, the attention span of a human being is just 10 minutes. So, make sure to check in attendees once every 10 minutes if possible.
When people feel involved and ownership of what's happening in the meeting, they are more willing to engage
Start and Close On-time
Ideally, the meeting should start and close on time. Participants may feel frustrated and lose interest if the meeting does not start and close on time. In small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs), nearly 40% of meetings start late. Most discussion turn unproductive and inefficient if they are prolonged. A regular team meeting should not extend more than 30 minutes. A strategy meeting can go up to one hour.
In a recent survey, 92% of participants confessed that they multitask during meetings. While 62% of participants admitted that they check emails while the meeting is going on, 42% admitted that they did other unrelated work during the session. Multitasking is making meetings inefficient. Ensuring that the participants don’t multitask, like checking emails and reading books, would help conduct a productive discussion.
Limit the Number of Attendees
Do you know Google, one of the largest technology companies, does not allow more than ten people to a decision-oriented meeting? Business executives conduct meetings for different purposes, including decision making, discussing a particular issue, and information sharing. Therefore, the purpose of the meeting should determine the number of attendees.
- A decision-making meeting should comprise 5 to 8 attendees
- The discussion meeting may comprise 8 to 20 attendees
- The information-sharing meeting may have more thousands of attendees
Leave Meeting with Clarity
Conclude the meeting with action items and notes. Ensure these notes are accessible to all participants. Mention a follow-up date for each action item and assign it to an individual. This increases accountability within the team and helps to track the progress easily.
How to use OKRs to make meeting focus and inclusive
OKR is a collaborative team goal-setting methodology that helps in setting measurable goals. In addition, OKRs help tracks progress, create alignment and increase team engagement. Regarding the benefit of OKRs, they are an effective way to align your team around your company's vision. They:
- Help you clearly define what you want to achieve and how will you measure it
- Give visibility into what everyone is doing that contributes to the overall business objectives
- Enable people to set priorities for their own work and take initiative
- Help you understand where there might be gaps in achieving the overall objective based on each team's OKRs
There are three vital components in OKR. They are objective, key results, and initiative.
Objective: It refers to the specific goal to be achieved.
Key Result: The key result is the outcome that measures the progress towards the objective.
Initiative: The activities that you do to achieve key results.
For example, the objective could be to optimize the funnel to close more deals. The key result could be to increase the closure rate from 10% to 20%. The initiatives could be to offer more discounts and additional warranties.
If we adopt this approach to the team meeting, the example of an OKR may look like this:
- The objective is to improve the gross revenues of the organization.
- The key result is to increase the sales closure rate from 10% to 20%.
The team may discuss various initiatives that increase the closure rate and create efficient sales teams. The initiatives could be to make more cold calls, increase the number of follow-ups, and offer discounts to qualified leads.
The meeting can be termed successful if the team comes up with appropriate initiatives and conclude with action points and follow-up timelines. In the follow-up meeting, the team may assess the progress against key results individually and adjust initiatives. By reporting individual progress, the team can identify where the roadblocks are and come up with solution to improve performance. The process continues until the objective is reached.
By taking steps to improve the meeting quality, ensure everyone feel included, valued and focused, you'll enhance your team productivity and foster a culture that value employees' voice and promotes a sense of belonging.