How to lead effective business meetings
Due to a complex competition calendar and a high number of stakeholders involved in sport; sports mangers seem to spend a high proportion of their time hosting meetings. Too often, however, these meetings take time but don't show results. Sports managers can make better use of their time if they make sure every meeting is effective. Here are a few handy hints to make your next meeting a productive one.
Hint no.1: Hold meetings only when necessary
You aren't the only person that seems to be stuck in meetings all the time - so do your colleagues a favour and only hold a meeting if it's really necessary. Generally, meetings should only be held if the synergy that arises from participant interaction is needed or if you intend to gain acceptance of a decision, programme or an idea. Don't call a meeting simply for the sake of it - think hard of what your objective is and if a meeting is really necessary.
Hint no.2: Invite only those who need to be there
The old saying 'less is more' refers to meetings as well. Having fewer rather than more participants benefits a meeting and allows its goals to be more readily achieved. A meeting is considered to be ineffective and hard to control if there are more than eight to twelve participants. So, think hard when deciding who to invite; what their specific role is and whether they are needed to make a decision or implement one. If their role isn't valuable perhaps they are better off simply being updated after the meeting.
Hint no.3: Prepare and send an agenda in advance
When participants are aware of what will be discussed in a meeting, their potential of contribution increases and off-topic discussions avoided. A meeting agenda should include the objectives; time allotted for each subject and what participants should do to be prepared to contribute to the meeting.
Hint no.4: Take the lead
A well prepared agenda is useless however if it is not followed. So take charge and stick to the plan. In order to keep everyone's attention, post the agenda and check-off the topics as the meeting progresses; furthermore, you can write decisions on a flip chart after all participants have expressed they agree with them. Approximately 50% of meetings start late and run too long - stick with allocated times forcing people to make decisions and keep to the point in a more constructive and organised fashion.
Hint no.5: Document and follow-up on decisions and assignments
Assign someone to document action points. Not every comment needs to be written down, but decisions, assigned tasks and deadlines should be kept somewhere for future use. Make sure that following the meeting the tasks that were assigned are followed up on by the participants. If you are meeting regularly with a group and there is no follow-up after each meeting, participants will start to ignore the action items decided and your meetings will once again prove ineffective.