The secrets to Ramp Up Your Meetings

Everyone agrees that this year has been all about the bottom-line. With that being said, what can you do to boost profitability, productivity and morale for your business? There are a few ways to ramp up your meetings while keeping a collective eye on the prize. Here are 5 proven ways to ramp up your meetings and boost your productivity and profitability.

1. Create and Publish Appropriate Etiquette for On-Site or Remote Meetings
Understanding the corporate etiquette and ground rules are essential for effective interaction in a professional environment. No one wants to play a game they don’t know the rules to. Make sure your players know the rules before game day so they can come prepared!
Rule # 1: No multitasking allowed during the meeting
Whether the meeting is on site or remote it should be unacceptable to be running email, texting, blogging or writing memos while others are speaking or transitioning to the next topic. Many businesses have instituted a no cell phone zone while meetings take place. Think about it: Your issues deserve undivided attention and all persons must be present in real time for this to happen.
Rule # 2: No comments from the peanut gallery.
In order to make sure all stakeholders are present clarify that no sidebar conversations are allowed. This is distracting in all types of meetings and often leads to delays. This rule is especially important when teleconferencing.

2. Set Short, Medium and Long Term Goals with Reachable Deadlines- Make Sure to Communicate Expectations
Early in the year is the perfect time to develop strategic short, medium and long term goals each within a corresponding (and expected) short, medium, and long-term framework.
Short-term: Short-term goals can be those goals that you would like to see completed within a few months. For example: say your company wants to address the skills and attitudes of their employees. Short-term planning looks at the present and develops specific short term solutions. A short term plan can involve a quick fix like instituting some employee training courses to be completed within the next three months. These solutions set the stage for addressing problems more comprehensively in the longer term.
Medium-term: Medium term plans can take one year to achieve. Medium-term planning applies more permanent solutions to short-term problems. For example, the condition of your company’s production equipment has become a concern. Where a short-term response to equipment failure is to repair the machine, a medium-term solution might be to arrange for a service contract. Medium-term planning implements policies and procedures to ensure that short-term problems don’t reoccur.
Long-term: Long term planning includes the overall goals of the company set for the next several years. In the long term, your business wants to discuss solving problems permanently and reaching longer-ranch targets. Long-term planning builds on past achievements to preserve those accomplishments and ensure continued success.
Make sure to dedicate a portion of your meeting to the discussion and identification of short, medium and long term goals. Team members should understand the importance of these goals and the framework for when they should be reached.

3. Follow Up with Team Members in Between Meetings in Order to Monitor Progress
Team members need leadership and guidance and should not feel ambushed at any gathering. Organizations that maintain an open line of communication in between meetings find that it increases morale and boosts overall productivity. Follow-up revs up the engine in anticipation of your next meeting and makes sure your team is on task.

4. Do Not Confine Your Meetings To a Conference Room – Branch Out!
Virtual communication is here to stay. Why not virtually conference with other locations simultaneously? Opening up the dialogue to other branches boosts productivity and increases office morale by making communication more fluid. Incorporate the use of visual aids and interactive presentations and to enhance your meetings and peak interest levels. Once teleconferencing begins explain the use of the mute button in order to filter out side bar conversations that may cause distraction. Always have a person on site to handle the technological issues that can arise and most of all make sure that everyone is on task and engaged during the meeting.

5. Allow Time for Reflection and Evaluation At All of Your Meetings
This is an opportunity for your stakeholders to present any concerns or ideas that they may have for future meetings. The evaluation process is essential to making your meetings work. The use of an “exit slip” is invaluable in this process. Have attendees fill out a short slip of paper identifying three things they did not like about the meeting. This will give you some feedback for your next meeting. Make sure to keep an open mind.

Meetings are an essential part of every organization. Spice up your meetings and make them more productive with these and other strategies you can find in the latest edition of South Florida Business and Wealth.

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