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4 Ways to Make Your Meetings ROCK!

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4 Ways to Make Your Meetings ROCK

 

For all the complaining we do about them, meetings do serve a purpose. Or, at least they’re supposed to.

We’ve written previously about how you can set yourself up for success by planning your meeting in advance and making sure everyone understands their role. But when it gets right down to it, a productive discussion depends on what happens once everyone’s gathered together, whether they’re sitting around a table or connecting remotely through the web or a mobile device.

If you’re the meeting leader, it’s up to you to set the tone and keep the conversation moving in the right direction. Use these four tactics to make the most of everyone’s time:

1. Create an agenda and then, stick to it.

Before the meeting ever starts, write a list of what you plan to discuss, in what order with top priorities first, how much time each topic should need and who will speak to it. Then, stick with your plan. When you do this, your meeting will have a steady pace and won’t feel aimless. Use ShoreTel Connect to create your agenda, share it with participants ahead of time, and then track each item in real time during the meeting.

2. Encourage participation near and far.   

When one person speaks the entire time, you’re not holding a meeting—you’re staging a lecture. So, proactively engage everyone by calling on people by name and not allowing any one person to dominate. Pay special attention to those who’ve connected to the meeting remotely. While services like ShoreTel Connect provide the sound and video quality participants need to easily follow what’s being said, they still may need extra encouragement to speak up. Also, designate a time toward the end of the meeting where people can ask questions and share any pertinent thoughts that might not have been covered on the agenda.

3. Shake things up a bit.

If meetings always go one way, people become accustomed to the routine. Keep participants on their toes by shaking things up a bit. When you can, start on a positive note with breaking news, like letting the team know when someone has landed a new client or reached a project milestone. If your company culture emphasizes letting each person around the table speak in turn, switch it up once in a while and have people share their thoughts in a random order. Have remote participants mix their comments in with those who are physically present – too often, we wait for the end to ask for those thoughts from outside of the room. 

4. Have fun. No, really. Have some FUN.

Although you want to keep things professional, meetings don’t have to be somber occasions. As you wait to begin, lighten the tension – talk about Game of Thrones or plans for the weekend. As long as it doesn’t become distracting, consider bringing in food like bagels or pizza for meetings where everyone is onsite. Thoughtful gestures like this can demonstrate that you appreciate people taking time out of their day. And keep the tone light if you can. Recognizing the human aspect of meetings is the key to having focused and determined attendees in the room – and that’s what makes a meeting a success.

What's your business meeting style? Take the ShoreTel Business Meeting Challenge to find out if you’re a Meeting Maverick, Meeting Multitasker, or Meeting Maximizer.