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Proven tips to make business meetings effective

Proven tips to make business meetings effective

Business meetings often get a bad rap for being a waste of time and resources but if they are set up in the right way, they can yield positive results. Companies that seek to get the most out of their meetings will implement a strategy to extract value.

To make meetings more effective, businesses can do the following;

Control the Meeting Invitee List

Instead of inviting everyone that has anything to do with the subject matter, try to limit the meeting attendees to a few key decision makers. This way the representatives of different sectors or departments will all have a say but there will be no danger of a runaway meeting, because the group will be small enough to control. To make sure that the ideas come from a wider pool, smaller meetings can be held with different interest groups to gather ideas and then senior members of staff can take the ideas onto the next stage.

Business Meetings Should Have an Agenda

All business meetings should have an agenda. This is a document that spells out the intentions of the meeting and it must be circulated in advance of the meeting date. Attendees should be given sufficient time to peruse the subject matter that will allow for information gathering and the compilation of well-thought out questions and concerns. This preparation should be encouraged because it results in a smooth flow and an efficient use of time.

Effective Meetings Call for the Appointment of a Facilitator

The meeting facilitator is charged with the responsibility of mediating the proceedings. This person should appoint speakers, ask for ideas from different attendees and encourage participation, but should also be able to rein meeting attendees in when side issues are raised and so successfully steer the discussion.

Publish and Distribute Minutes of the Meeting

The effectiveness of the meeting is not only measured by what happens while it is in progress. Much work needs to be done after the fact as well to ensure that the results are procured. The minutes of the meeting must be compiled and distributed for the attendees to consult and comment.

To be Effective, Follow Up Meeting Deliverables

Lastly, the deliverables of business meetings should be tracked to ensure that the commitments made are kept. The facilitator may be put in charge of this check back function or the responsibility can be bestowed on different people depending on who will collect the final report. The important thing is that the result is traced to the end.

Surviving the Transition into Management

The complex technical skills which led to recognition in the first place and ultimately to promotion do not necessarily indicate the quality of manager the person will be. By understanding what employees wish their bosses knew about respect, appreciation, and communication, a newly promoted employee can successfully navigate the move into management.

Management, according to Mary Parker Follett, is the “art of getting things done through people.” Being an effective manager is not as much about job knowledge as it is about people knowledge. It’s understanding people and what motivates them. Great managers are developed not born. It is a skill that, thankfully, can be learned and gets better with experience.


Aretha Franklin got it right. R-e-s-p-e-c-t, find out what it means – to employees. Being respected at work tops the job satisfaction list. People need to feel valued. In a poll by Adele Lynn for the book In Search of Honor, 61% of employees stated “bosses don’t place much importance on them or their tasks.” As a newly minted manager, it’s essential to understand what work is being accomplished, who does the work, and how it gets done. Doing an employee’s job or micromanaging is not the goal here. Awareness of what it takes to get the job done is. By comprehending what is involved, a manager is better able to guide an employee through time-robbing frustration and road blocks.

The Golden Rule, “do to others what you would have them do to you” is just as relevant at work as it is in everyday life. To get respect, a manager must give respect. How a manager talks, listens, and treats employees determines whether she’s building a successful team of strong, independent workers or creating a climate of strife, unhappiness, backbiting, and criticism.

The new manager should be visible and accessible. Management by walking around, or MBWA, is an excellent way to accomplish this. By stopping by a cube for a chat or calling employees in remote locations, a manager provides an easy place for staff to discuss the day and its challenges. It’s an easy approach to get a feel for what employees face, what issues they might have, or what’s getting them upset.


Following a close second after respect is appreciation. 88% of those polled for In Search of Honor said “they do not receive acknowledgment for the work they do” and 57% stated “managers don’t care about them as people.” Employees are a company’s and a manager’s best asset and should be treated as such. People feel valued when a manager commits to their success through training or providing opportunities to work on special projects.

Getting to know employees, their strengths, weaknesses, their hobbies, passions, families help people feel like they are more than a cog in wheel. They are someone important to a manager. This is reinforced with verbal appreciation, email encouragement, attaboys, emote gold stars, food, candy. Showing appreciation can be as simple as bringing in donuts and bagels for a treat or as dramatic as an award given in a group setting. Just saying the words thank you goes a long way toward making a person feel appreciated.


Active listening is a skill each and every manager must develop. When an employee comes into a manager’s office, the wise boss silences the noisemakers by putting down the mouse, turning away from the computer, and not checking her Blackberry. She gives the person the courtesy she expects by giving them her undivided attention and actually listening to what they have to say.

58% of the In Search of Honor poll “thought their opinions and suggestions fall on deaf management ears.” Active listening involves focused attention to the words being said and the intent behind the words. Active listening is demonstrated by paying attention, acknowledging what is being said through body language, and by providing feedback. Employees have good suggestions and insight. A great manager listens to what her staff has to say.

It’s impossible for one person to know everything, do everything, or be everywhere. It’s okay to delegate. A great manager gets out of the way and allows her staff to do what they do best – work.