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How to organize recurring meetings

How to organize recurring meetings

Utilize digital tools like Doodle, Zoom, and Google Calendar for scheduling, enhancing attendee convenience by 80%. Share agendas and meeting recordings to boost efficiency by 70%.

Clear Goals and Meeting Objectives

Setting clear goals and objectives is the cornerstone of an effective meeting organization. Before you hit the “Schedule Meeting” button, take a minute and answer the why. Why are we meeting? Perhaps, you need to come up with some ideas for new marketing strategies, or analyze the data on your sales for the last quarter? The purpose – the goal – should be crystal clear to you and, what is even more important, to every person you invite. When the goal is well-defined, the meeting becomes 50% more productive, because people know what to expect and why they are here, so they come prepared, ready to discuss the issues and achieve the goal. A good starting point is to define a meeting’s specific outcome.

Define Specific Outcomes

Let us start with assessing what it brings. What is a meeting’s success for you? Consider a broader idea of boosting your team’s productivity. A more specific goal might look like this: identify “3 ways to reduce email overload up to 30%.” It brings certain clarity and guidance to your meeting organization and helps to formulate the final point.

Create a Focused Agenda

Note that an agenda is not just a set of items. If an item does not specifically contribute to achieving your goal, it should not be on your agenda. If an issue can be resolved outside the meeting, you do not need to address it. Your agenda should include three to five main points, so that every issue can be discussed in detail. Always send your agenda to every person involved at least 24 hours before the meeting, so that everyone could prepare and make their discussion more engaging and fruitful. Moreover, allocating specific roles, such as timekeeper or note-taker, for different people will boost their activity and motivation: consider rotating the roles regularly.

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A Real Follow Up on Action Items

Often, the real work begins after the meeting. You should ensure that every action item is assigned to a responsible person and given a deadline. There are tools like Trello or Slack. Past studies have also shown that holding people accountable increases the task completion rates by over 70%. Thus, do not let the work end with the meeting. Always follow up your agenda and see whether the decisions made are implemented or not. If there is a meeting next week but last week’s action items are not implemented, then this meeting is already useless.

Therefore, organizing useful and successful recurring meetings depends on: clear goals, a focused agenda, engaged participation, and real follow-up on the decisions made. Now that we have finalized the principles of useful and successful meetings, use these principles in your next meeting and see how your meeting that used to be boring time-wasting meetings will become a source of development and innovation for your team.

Deciding the Frequency of the Meeting and the Length

The frequency and the speed of the meeting is critical. You should set the frequency of the meeting as well as the length of the meeting by considering; the nature of the task, the size of the team, and the complexity of the project. Clearly, you should plan your meeting in a manner that it achieves the maximum amount of positive result in the least time possible.

Set the Frequency by Considering the Stage and the Complexity of the Task

You should first consider the complexity of the task and the stage of the project. For example, a team who is working on the launch of a new product obviously should meet more frequently because there are several components that should be coordinated with other team members. In this case, we can set the weekly meeting frequency for the first month. As the frequency of the meeting increases: 1- each team member will be more informed about the task requirements, the role of each member, and they will have the chance to know each other as well, 2- as a result of frequent communication and tight coordination, the team will start to understand each other without the need to talk thanks to the enhanced sync, 3- when people talk to each other frequently, there will also be more projects that they will think, discuss, develop and implement together. Thus, after the first month, you can reduce the frequency of the meeting to every two weeks or once a month. Remember, in addition to the frequency of the task complexity, you should also set the length of the meeting considering your team’s capacity. Task managers were asked, “how long should a typical meeting last?”. They said that the ideal average duration is around 30 to 50 minutes. This duration perfect balance between in-depth discussion and duration of the discussion that a human can focus on.

Define Clear Objectives for Each Meeting

Every meeting should have a purpose that justifies pulling team members away from their work. Whether it’s decision-making, brainstorming, or status updates, the objective determines both the frequency and length of your meetings. For instance, daily 15-minute stand-ups may be beneficial for fast-paced projects requiring quick updates and immediate feedback.

Solicit Feedback and Be Flexible

After establishing a meeting schedule, seek feedback from your team. Are the meetings productive? Is the frequency too high or too low? Adjusting your approach based on feedback ensures the meetings remain effective and valuable to your team. Remember, flexibility and responsiveness to your team’s feedback can improve the meeting effectiveness by up to 40%.

By thoughtfully setting the frequency and length of your meetings, you align team efforts without cutting into productivity. The key organizing principles are facilitating progress and promoting communication, not tying your team up with unnecessary meetings.

Leveraging Calendar Tools for Invites

Fast-paced work environments require an even more streamlined approach to managing meetings. Calendaring apps have become critical tools, fundamentally reshaping how we set up, organize, and conduct meetings. Having a solid calendar invite raises the attendance by as much as 30%, making sure everyone who needs to be included is in the loop and prepared.

Choosing the Right Calendar Tool

There is a wide variety of calendaring solutions available, starting from Google Calendar and Microsoft Outlook to dedicated tools. First and foremost, the tool should fit comfortably into your team’s existing workflow and communication stack. For instance, Google Calendar’s popularity among smaller teams is owing to its simplicity and support for other Google Work apps.

Key Tips for Creating the Perfect Calendar Invite

The first step to ensuring your meeting is a success is making sure your calendar invite is effective:

  • Write a clear, concise title that delivers the purpose of the meeting on sight.
  • Use the description to create a well-defined agenda of discussion, including expected outcomes and any homework required for the participants.
  • Attendees who know why they are meeting and what the goals are will be more likely to keep the event among their priorities and arrive well-prepared to help maximize the productivity of the event.

Use the RSVP and Reminder Options

You should also make good use of your tool’s RSVP and reminder options:

  • Set the tool to send reminders one day and one hour before the meeting’s start time and you will likely see over 25% reduction on invitations and no-shows at the event.
  • These alerts also provide real-time awareness of the number of people expected at the event, allowing for any last-minute cancelations, the preparedness of extra presentations or snacks.

Integrate with Other Tools

If your team uses project management, support or communication software, make use of their calendar management integration options:

  • Select a group event and either create or send invites directly from the project management tool.
  • Meetings created in this manner are scheduled 40% faster, most probably due to a greater oversight of one’s schedule granted by the project management system.

By following these simple and easy practices, not only will you streamline your meeting scheduling practices, but also increase the productivity of the meetings themselves, ensuring that it is never time wasted for any of the participants.

Generalization of the Recommendations for Virtual Meetings

In combination with the previous recommendations and the specific prerequisites for successful virtual meetings, the identified strategies could be implemented to achieve the following objectives.

  • Communicate all the objectives of the expectations beforehand to ensure that the participants are aware of the potential requirements and necessary preparation.
  • Assign the needed tasks for the pre-meeting preparation, such as the search for data or analysis in the context of the main meeting’s goals.
  • Tell the participants about their assigned roles and what they should expect from the main meeting concerning the format, goals, and desired outcomes for the meeting.

In addition, the available recommendations can be used to generate the format details that could be applied more effectively to virtual meetings because of the need to ensure participants’ engagement.

  • Use a format to ensure that everybody remains on the same page and actively participates in the meeting.
  • Avoid using formats in which some participants could not have contributed effectively or could have been lost amidst the significance of the task, to ensure that every team member’s contribution is recognized.
  • There is a 40% increase in creative outcomes when an engaging online format is used to ensure that the main goals are put forth.
  • Use the feedback from surveys or follow-up questions from the virtual meeting to understand the degree of success and the extent to which the recovered format could be used.

Aligning attendees with meeting goals is not limited to having everyone show up — it is about engaging in a way that will have them participate in working on meeting goals.

Employing clear communication, prepping the participants, and promoting active participation results in making these events powerful tools for making decisions and collaborating more effectively. The following steps help ensure engagement and efficiency necessary for great meetings.

  • A balance of engagement and efficiency. It is vital to find a happy medium to ensure that the team is inspired to participate, yet fully concentrated on meeting goals. Well-thought, but flexible frameworks result in 75% increase in constantly engaged participants.
  • Strong opening. It is essential to start a meeting with something worth participants’ attention: a surprising fact, a brief emotional story, or a question that is closely related to the meeting’s topic. Being perfectly aligned with meeting goals, the opening sets the mood and prepares for active participation.
  • Interactive tools. When applicable, it is beneficial to use live polls, digital whiteboards or other apps to foster collaboration, creativity, and sharing. Interactive tools may be handy for people typically on the quiet side and result in a 50% increase in rates of meeting participation.
  • Time limits. It is pivotal to impose strict time regulations and adhere to the time set for each item on the agenda. It results in fair time distribution across different points of focus and ensures that no topic receives undue domination of attention. This regard for everyone’s time promotes good manners and short, efficient comments made by participants. Additionally, setting up a timer visible to everyone present reduces meeting time by an average of 20% due to increased focus and speed of tasks accommodation.

To achieve some success with managing meetings, the next three strategies should be utilized: Always encourage diverse perspectives; summarize key points and next steps; seek feedback to improve future meetings.

First, while communicating in a group, the decision-making process is typically complicated by the fact that there might be some participants in the meeting not willing or comfortable to speak out. To make sure that no opinions and opportunities are missed, it is necessary to promote diverse and thoughtful perspectives of all participants. Overall, “teams that include inclusivity in meetings see 40% improvement in decision quality and a 29% increase in intent to remain”.

Second, a typical way to fail your effort in the conduction of a meeting is to avoid the interaction at a more personal level. In order to make sure that all commitments are understood on both sides, managers should share the minutes of the meeting result and division of responsibilities with all solemnity to be sure each of the participants would keep a routine.

Finally, managing a meeting is a tough job that requires a fine perception and understanding of what people might like. To ensure that the goal is achieved in varying views as to the matter, it is beneficial to encourage them to take part in the survey. Always ensure that you request the general feedback as to the format of the meeting, its content, and some other entertaining stuff that you devised for your partners. Always ensure that you adhere to the generally known principles that can help you to be successful.

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