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Everyone has had this experience: Sitting at a meeting where no one seems to be accomplishing anything and all you want to do is leave to work on finishing that report you have due at the end of the day. Meetings are important, however, if they aren’t effective, then they can be counterproductive. If you desire to be the manager whose team meetings are the exception to the boring rule, you need to understand this secret: Plan these meetings as if you were storming Normandy.

Failing to Plan

Failure to plan is the main reason why meetings go nowhere and accomplish nothing. If there is no clear path to follow, no order to the discussion and no clear goal, then people will drone on while others play Bejeweled under the desk. If you are the one calling the meeting, that makes you the general and all of the planning falls to you to ensure success.

Set Clear Goals

Before you make the decision to call a meeting, you need to understand what it is you are looking to accomplish. Getting everyone together for a meeting because you haven’t had one in a while isn’t a justifiable reason for a meeting. When you have a set goal for the meeting, it will be easier to create an agenda and set the right tone for the meeting.

Create an Agenda

Creating an agenda is an important part of having effective team meetings. Even an informal meeting needs to have a clear schedule for everyone to understand and follow. Otherwise, people will come unprepared, interrupt one another to speak, and refuse to talk about what you need to accomplish.

When you notify participants of the time and place for the meeting, you need to include a copy of the agenda that clarifies your goals and the information each person will be responsible for providing. Preparation will avoid many of the downfalls of ineffective team meetings.

Stay in Charge

You are the manager and you need to lead the meeting to make sure it is effective. Set the tone at the beginning of the meeting and make sure everyone follows the agenda. You don’t have to rule with an iron fist, but you do need to use a guiding hand to keep everyone on track to meet the set goals.

Planning a meeting, setting a clear agenda and keeping everyone on track will ensure the meeting is short, effective, and a positive experience for all of your participants. In addition, once you set the pattern, people will be more likely to follow it for the next meeting, making boring, pointless sessions outdated.

Even effective team meetings won’t help complete important projects if you are short-staffed. If you need seasonal help to cover summer vacations, need a push for an important project or are looking at growing your business, contact us. We can help meet your staffing needs and help you find qualified candidates for your open positions.

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