Transitioning back into the workplace and conducting in-person meetings post-COVID-19 may be challenging. You need to get back to business by effectively running your meetings to accomplish more in a shorter amount of time with the added benefit of group involvement and buy-in.
This article highlights a few things to consider as you prepare to have in-person meetings again.
Work shifting back into the office means meetings are going to transition from virtual to in-person. Yes, we know running meetings, regardless of virtual or in-person can be time-consuming if they lack focus, the right members, or effective facilitation tools.
On the other hand, they can also be an extremely efficient way to get things done quickly, to support building a team environment, and to enable collaboration among key members to produce a better outcome than possible working independently.
If you are responsible for running meetings and aren’t quite sure how best to go about creating an effective meeting experience, after spending over a year doing it virtually, you’ll be glad you found this article.
Following are a few key steps to getting back into the grove of having in-person meetings. Attending to each of these steps will enable you to repeatedly create a well-organized, effective, and productive experience well beyond the post-pandemic state that we are all in now.
6 Key Steps to Navigating In-Person Meetings Again:
1. Meet with a purpose
If you ask most people, they have been to one too many meetings that seemed (whether or not accurately so) to have no purpose. Recent studies have shown 67% of employees complain that they are spending too much time in meetings Otter.ai. Be sure to call a meeting only if you have a clear reason for doing so.
Make the meeting meaningful. If you need information from the group, set a clear agenda with key questions ahead of time. Or, if you want to share information, draft an outline of your key points.
If you just want to get the team together to allow for bonding time, organize the space so interaction can be done safely but still fosters engagement between team members.
2. Communicate your purpose
It’s great that you know why you’re meeting. Now, tell everyone else why you are! Be sure to let all attendees know how long the meeting will be, where it will be, and what information is to be covered.
Be sure to let them also know what the goal of the meeting is—what deliverables, outcomes, etc. are expected so they can come prepared. Remember, some members of your team may not feel comfortable returning to work and being in close proximity with others quite yet. So, the goal is to have a meaningful meeting that doesn’t drag on and on. Get in and get out!
Also, just because you’ve called the meeting doesn’t mean you’re the only one who has to do the talking. Enable them to participate—sharing relevant information ahead of time, will ensure they come prepared to contribute, and take the spotlight off of you at the same time!
3. Support the purpose
Come prepared with the appropriate supporting materials. If this is an information gathering session, bring forms or tools for completion. If it’s a presentation, bring slides/handouts, etc.
Whatever will support communication of your key points, gathering of the required information, or structuring of the discussion should be included to create a stronger sense that everyone’s time is being well spent.
4. Everyone is present for a purpose
Get your team back in the grove of things. Ensure that individuals invited to the meeting are there for a reason. More importantly, when planning your meeting consider team members’ roles and that each attendee clearly understands his, her, or their specific role.
How can they contribute? Do they have key information, skills, or experience that you can leverage in the meeting? Help them feel useful by letting them know the important role you’d like them to play.
No role is too small. Assign meeting management roles before you begin the meetings. Some specific meeting facilitation roles might include:
Scribe: to record key information and meeting minutes
Flipchart recorder: to capture key points and questions visually on flipcharts
Timekeeper: to help keep the meeting on task, on track, and on time
5. Review and define outcomes and next steps
Review the agreed-upon action items before you end the meeting. While also identifying the responsible parties for each item as discussed during the meeting. If you’ve assigned meeting scribes or flipchart recorders, then this step should be relatively simple.
Define next steps and discuss target dates for completion of action items and set expectations for a follow-up meeting, if one is necessary.
6. Show your appreciation
It’s a time investment to sit through yet another meeting. Every person’s time is valuable. So, be sure to thank your team for their participation and contributions.
Motivate key participants by letting them know after the meeting just how helpful their contributions were during the meeting.
This will help to ensure that next time you need to have a meeting, you’ll find willing participants ready to go.
Remember, not everyone may be ready to meet in person. So, if you must have a meeting follow these 6 keys steps to create a well-organized, effective, and productive experience for everyone.