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How To Hold A Productive Business Meeting

It doesn't matter how long you’ve been in business, a meeting is not an easy thing to command. There are always nerves and worries that you’ll get tongue-tied, or the message which you’re trying to convey won’t get across. There is also the worry that people will be bored with what you have to say, and you won’t engage your audience as you speak.

In short, business meetings are not always straightforward. Even with the best Google Sheets integration to make everything visual and easy to digest, making people feel motivated and productive is hard. You have to be able to command a room and grab attention. You need the people in attendance to be interested and engaged when you are speaking. The good news is that you can be effective in your business meetings to make sure that you aren’t wasting your time whenever you stand up in your business and talk to people. You have to ensure that the meeting is going to be necessary, which means identifying four specifics before you get started. These include:

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  1. Is this meeting mandatory? Before you schedule any meetings with your team, you need to make sure that you couldn't just do this via email. You want to make sure that your staff want to be there! Meetings are a must sometimes, but if you can avoid it altogether, your team will appreciate it. 

  2. What’s the structure of this meeting? The only way that your meeting is going to be productive is if you know how you plan to run it. A meeting without structure is one that will flail in the wind and turn into waffling and going nowhere. Define the meeting and send out the structure of it a few hours before the time. This way, your staff, and attendees have time to prepare themselves if necessary!

  3. Speaking of preparation, you need people to be ready to hear what you have to say. They need to be prepared for what’s ahead of them so that they can be effective in their communication with you. You want this to be a good, productive meeting with everyone paying attention, and unpreparedness can lead to drifting minds and boredom. Let’s avoid that by giving people the right tools to attend the meeting confidently.

  4. Productive meetings have useful tools. This means the right software for meeting minutes, the right visuals and graphs, and you need to ensure the meeting room equipment is working before you start it and before people arrive. Another great tool is refreshments. You want people awake and paying attention, so providing coffee and tea is one thing, but if the meeting is going to go in for some time, think about adding takeout menus for later.

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Productive business meetings are those where you are as active as a participant as you are leading the meeting. Generating conversation and providing the right materials for your staff is essential, but you need to be in that conversation and make the meeting a brainstorm rather than a lecture. You are a vital part of this meeting being as productive as possible. Let’s take a look at some of the ways that you can make sure that this meeting is as productive as possible.

  1. Make sure that your meeting has an agenda and you need to familiarize yourself with it as much as possible. If you’re going to be using visuals during your meeting, you need to put together the meeting as if it’s a production. Everything has its place, and the majority of the meeting has to occur before you even get into the room. You’ll need to prepare your talking points and your meeting notes before anyone arrives, as this will ensure that you can speak confidently and efficiently to the people in the meeting with you.

  2. The one thing about a business meeting is that your staff expects it to be boring. You should get out of your comfort zone and invite suggestions and feedback from your employees and pay attention to what they're saying. You want this to be a successful meeting, and for that, you need to listen to any aired grievances and make it a safe space to do that. Don’t set a laptop in front of you, and when people are speaking, you sit down and let them stand up. Present your arguments in a focused and precise way, and do the same with your talking points.

  3. This might be your meeting that you are holding, but that doesn't mean that you need to monopolize the discussion being had. Hand the room over to questions, insights, feedback. It’s a discussion as much as it is a meeting and talking for minutes at a time is going to get boring for your attendees. If you want this meeting to be productive, this needs to be short and sharp and - if possible - first thing in the morning. People are brighter in the morning, which means that they are much more likely to pay attention to what you have to say.

  4. Only invite attendees who need to be in this meeting and involved in the conversation. There is no use in having people sitting around a table in a meeting room that has no interest in the topic at hand and has nothing to contribute to the time spent there. 

  5. Provide the visuals on the projector and whiteboard in paper form to your attendees. People will be able to pay better attention to what you are saying if they can annotate and make notes, and printing off the Google Sheets will help. Engagement is so crucial, and the best way to do this is by giving materials to each person who arrives.

A productive meeting shouldn't take long, but it should be precise, and it should offer people the chance to talk and debate. Meetings are about making your business better, and you can do that when you plan, prepare, notify, and manage a meeting from start to finish. Be confident, and people won’t be bored!

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