Many employees are reluctant to attend meetings, thinking that they are a waste of precious time. Perhaps you have seen your employees peering down at their smartphones and wondered what they are doing. Are they taking notes? Shopping online? Checking their social media accounts? Even if employees aren’t on their devices, they could be mentally checked out — daydreaming or planning their next vacation.
To be fair to employees, many meetings are unproductive, but they don’t have to be. You can change employees’ opinions about meetings by making them more effective.
- Give an ending time — When someone calls for a meeting, they should specify how long the meeting will last. Not leaving a meeting open-ended will keep everyone conscious of the time and ideally prevent unnecessary discussions that may not be relevant to the subject matter.
- Distribute the plan in advance — Send the agenda out well before the meeting. Knowing what will be discussed in the meeting will allow employees to consider topics and prepare relevant feedback beforehand.
- Make the meeting exclusive — Few things are more frustrating than sitting through a meeting that you didn’t really need to be at. Invite only the necessary employees. Staff members are far more likely to participate when they are engaged in the matters at hand.
- Facilitate with gusto — If you are conducting the meeting, consider it your job to get all attendees involved. Call on people by name and ask them to weigh in on different topics. Reward their comments with thoughtful affirmations and feedback.
Meetings don’t have to be a bad word in the workplace. By making them short, meaningful, efficient, and engaging, you can turn them into powerful tools for advancing your company.