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How to make business meetings more efficient

One of the many tasks that falls to business managers is to conduct business meetings. However, many business meetings easily become time wasters. It becomes the responsibility of the business manager to make sure that any meetings that are held are efficient and productive. When employees are aware that the meetings that are held are efficient they will come to any meetings better prepared to participate. The good news is that there are several different tips that can help you to do this. Here is what you need to know about how to make business meetings more efficient-

- Have a plan as to what you want to accomplish-The main reason that business meetings become time wasters is that business managers do not plan out ahead of time what they want to accomplish. By having a written plan and agenda you are far more likely to stick to the subject at hand and keep everyone on track. If you come to the meeting without a written plan then the chances are much lower that you won't accomplish what you even called the meeting for.
- Communicate during the meeting-Holding a business meeting is far different then giving a lecture. You want to make sure that you are giving the information to your employees that will help them do their jobs better. You want to speak loud enough for everyone to hear and try to make eye contact at least once with every person in the meeting. This of course will depend on the number of people who are attending the meeting. Finally, you need to make sure that you exhibit confidence in what you are saying. If you are unable to do this the people who are attending will doubt what you are saying and the meeting will quickly become unproductive.
- Encourage feedback-This is another aspect of communication that should take place during the meeting. Keep in mind that if you didn't want feedback you could have sent the information out through a memo. Asking for feedback shows your employees that you value what they have to say and will take their input into consideration. Try asking open ended questions that will require more then just a yes or no answer. Make sure that you listen without judgment so that the employees that you manage will feel secure in speaking up. You should also offer a thank you when input has been given. You should avoid publicly criticizing or belittling any ideas that are brought up in the meeting.
- Stay on schedule-When you make an effort to stay on schedule you are showing respect for the people who have attended. While you should allow a little friendly conversation as an icebreaker do not allow it to continue for to long. Make sure that you announce the objective of the meeting and then get to it. When you begin and end on time your employees will take your business meetings far more seriously and will know that that they should come prepared to offer information and input. Shortly before the announced end time of the business meeting be sure to briefly summarize what has been discussed and decided on and ask for any other comments or questions before closing the business meeting.
- Follow through on what has been decided-Your employees will be watching to see if you follow through on what has been decided in business meetings. If they feel that meetings are not really serious and don't matter it will become very difficult to keep them efficient. You should make it a point to follow through on any decided actions that come from a business meeting. Remember, that your employees are being paid to attend the meeting so it is only to your benefit to make them as efficient as possible.

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