Learning to run effective and productive meetings is a necessary skill for all business leaders. Leading meetings is a make-or-break skill that top leaders must develop to thrive in the business world. A successful meeting drives optimal performance by focusing efforts and aligning teams.
Poorly led meetings, on the other hand, are a waste of time and money. Even worse, they can demotivate your teams and damage your reputation as a leader.
Leaders who want to shape culture and drive success need to be able to pull off a good business meeting. Here are some tips on how to do that.
Pay attention to the attendee list
Ideally, meetings will gather key team members who are critical to a project so all necessary updates and feedback can be provided. If for some reason key team members can’t attend, the agenda may need to change.
Keep an eye on your email or messaging platform as the meeting time approaches for updates from attendees. If key decision makers or contributors won’t be in attendance, be prepared to pivot from the original direction to make the meeting more productive.
Provide the agenda in advance
Meetings provide an opportunity to gain insights from the collective knowledge of the team. Obtaining that knowledge is easier if you give team members a chance to prepare in advance.
Sending out the meeting agenda a day or two prior will give attendees time to think through projects and show up organized. Don’t depend on getting the best input or feedback from employees who were surprised by a topic and scrambling to collect their thoughts.
Providing an agenda in advance can also help you, as the leader, to avoid surprises. If you are planning to discuss a project that unbeknownst to you has experienced a major setback, it’s good to get the bad news in advance, since early feedback from key contributors can help you to shape a more relevant agenda.
Stick to the agenda and your role
Once topics are set, work hard to ensure they are covered. Great ideas relevant to the topic at hand should be welcomed, but entertaining tangents can quickly derail a meeting.
It is also important that you stick to your role and ensure others do as well. Those in attendance were invited because of their roles and responsibilities, and overlooking those roles is not good for morale or productivity.
Dress for success
It may seem like a small detail, but dressing appropriately plays a big role in leading a successful meeting. This factor actually has more to do with what dressing inappropriately communicates. Dressing too casually implies a lack of preparation and respect for the other attendees, especially when they show up prepared and ready for business.
To avoid the inappropriate, start by avoiding clothes that are wrinkled or that look sloppy. Casual attire can pass for prepared when it is neat, tidy, and pressed. Clothes that are stained or ill-fitting, however, even when otherwise formal, won’t give you an air of professionalism.
Anything that is distracting should also be avoided, including bold fashion statements such as loud patterns or daring jewelry. Outfits that are overly revealing will also be distracting.
Respect the clock
Occasionally, you may have brainstorming meetings that have an open agenda and no set time, but that will be a rare exception to the rule. The best meeting will have a set time limit and a limited number of topics.
If you’ve called a 30-minute meeting to discuss five topics, then make sure it stays a 30-minute meeting where five topics are discussed. Prioritize what is key and make sure it is covered adequately. Scheduling another meeting to address unresolved issues is a better decision than letting a meeting run past the scheduled end time.
The best meetings will involve clear communications, both before and during, and a commitment to cover the issues — and only the issues — at hand. Becoming a leader who can manage that type of meeting will help you to lead your organization to higher levels of effectiveness and productivity.
Jay Avigdor is the President and CEO of Velocity Capital Group, a direct funding platform located in Greater New York that funds small businesses nationwide, servicing over 15,000 clients since its founding in 2018. A noted finance expert with a 13-year career, Avigdor has developed an extensive network of over 40,000 relationships with clients and brokers, contributing to an impressive $850 million in sales. His innovative technological approach is setting new trends in the industry by merging finance with technology through automation, thus allowing a quicker and smoother process for merchants and brokers serviced. Avigdor is a graduate of Touro University and currently lives in upstate New York.