The Key to More Effective Meetings

The Key to More Effective Meetings

Meetings can zap time and energy.

“The administrator is always in a meeting!”

“I never have enough time to do what I need to do because I’m stuck in meetings all day.”

Sound familiar? Meetings not only cost time but they cost the organization money too. Did you ever look around the room, consider the hourly rate of each person and total up what that meeting is costing you?

Meetings are also a huge source of frustration for people.  But it can be different.


Here are 7 simple rules to make your meetings more productive:

1. Ask yourself – “What purpose does this meeting serve?”

Why are you having the meeting? Would it be more effective to have a group call or pull someone aside in the hallway? Would a simple quick status update email suffice?

2. Who should attend?

Let’s assume the meeting is important.  Inviting the right people to a meeting can be tricky.  People tend to invite too few or too many people.  If you invite everyone, no one will talk.  If you invite too few, then you could potentially be leaving important people in the dark which is a sure fire way to damage employee engagement.  Finding the right mix is challenging.  For important projects we often recommend small committees with representation from residents, family members, and staff from various departments and shifts.

3. Encourage people to say no.

That’s right, let people know that it is OK to disagree with you.  You will hear agreement with your ideas regardless of what people are really thinking.  Good for the ego, bad for innovation!

4. Be on Time

Tardiness is not only rude, it’s a productivity killer.  Think about a meeting where people were forced to recap, explain, and reiterate the same point for the first 15 minutes over and over again.  If you can’t arrive on time, give the meeting organizer the heads up and the green light to start promptly.  Get your recap of anything you missed after the meeting.

5. Technology

If you are a host, show up early and test the technology. If you’re using a conference line, call in early.  We can’t stress enough that technology is here to improve meetings not disrupt them.  Keep this in mind, and if you allow smartphones and/or laptops in your meeting then be strict about their purpose.  No one should be using technology for any other reason than to enhance the effectiveness of the meeting.

6. Have an Agenda

Not everyone agrees on this point. Structured types love agendas, while creative types want a more free flowing interactive meetings.  No matter your personality, an agenda without set times for each topic provides direction for the meeting and what needs to be accomplished but allows for quicker or longer conversation if needed.

7. Hold Everyone Accountable

This is our favorite!  Based on the outcomes of the meeting, assign action items with deadlines and ensure that those responsible report back what they have and have not accomplished.  What use is the meeting if nothing is coming from it?

Here are some simple meeting guidelines for you to try if you’re the host:

  1. Adhere to start and end times.
  2. Have an agenda and follow it.
  3. Provide time for questions/concerns and validate concerns of attendees.
  4. Solicit ideas and solutions to problems.
  5. Manage the discussion to avoid rambling or high-jacking.
  6. Keep things positive and motivating.
  7. Track follow-up items and when necessary send a recap with assignments for the next meeting.

What information should be on your agenda? Obviously, it depends on the meeting, but here is an example that can be utilized for a regular weekly department meeting:

  • Company-wide updates
  • Home or community-specific updates
  • Department-specific updates
  • Open discussion/ problem solving
  • Input and feedback on supporting residents
  • Review of a policy or standards of practice
  • Review of organizational objectives & progress
  • Employee celebrations (e.g., birthdays, caught doing something “right”)

Remember if it isn’t moving you forward, why are you doing it?

This article was written by staff member, Allison Duda


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