Magazine Archives
The fix | Canadian Insurance

The fix

Tidy up your fatal meeting flaws and transform them into a foundation for employee engagement

Despite the daily onslaught of emails, phone calls and memos, meetings are still one of the most effective ways that people share and exchange information, get feedback, plan, collaborate and make important decisions for their organizations.

So why do meetings have such a bad reputation?

How many flaws do you recognize here?

1. No specific or declared purpose or timed agenda.
2. The wrong mix of people, and frequently, the wrong people dominating.
3. Too many, too time-consuming, too unnecessary.
4. Amazing new technology ‘glitches’ that delay or kill momentum.
5. Unreadable or unclear presentations.
6. No clear take-aways or action items.
7. Employees would rather be anywhere else and spend the meeting multi-tasking.

Here are some additional solid tips on effective meetings from

Planning a meeting

  • Is this meeting necessary?
  • What do I want to achieve?
  • Who needs to be there?
  • Do I have the physical space and technology tools to run a meeting, in person, by video or teleconference?
  • Is the timing, and time of day, right to hold the meeting, and the attendees’ attention?

TAKEAWAY: An effective meeting has a purpose and gets finished in the time allotted.

Building a meeting agenda

  • Provide a list of topics for discussion.
  • Assign a presenter for each topic, and length of time allotted.
  • Work with key meeting participants to confirm agenda.
  • Distribute to all participants the pre-established agenda so they come prepared for discussions and decisions.
  • Energize the meeting by quickly reviewing the agenda and expected outcomes. It’s an opportunity to come to the meeting prepared for the upcoming discussions or decisions.

TAKEAWAY: Templated agendas are fine with updates to freshen up; no need to reinvent every meeting agenda.

Facilitating meetings

Facilitation is about process (how you do something) – rather than content (what you do). Having an assigned facilitator during your meeting can help the group keep to its task while simultaneously paying attention to the personal needs of each group member.

  • Opening – frame the meeting by reviewing the agenda and clarifying roles.
  • Establishing ground rules – how will you work together.
  • Time management – keep track of time to ensure all agenda items are covered.
  • Evaluation of the meeting – get feedback to improve meeting process.
  • Closing – clarify and review actions and commitment of employees.

TAKEAWAY: Strong facilitation is the make-or-break metric of every meeting. Consider rotating facilitators for ongoing meetings to further engage participants.

Evaluating meetings

This can be a crucial and quick step to dramatically improve your meetings each week.

  • Conduct a 5 – 10 minute check.
  • What worked with this meeting?
  • What can we do differently next time?

TAKEAWAY: Allow the feedback to ow. It will help people feel heard, improve your process, reduce frustration and create hope that meetings will continue to evolve.

When conducting an evaluation, be mindful to integrate the suggestions, decision and/or feedback received into future meetings.

Adapted with the permission of Community Foundations of Canada ©, all rights reserved.

Copyright © 2016 Transcontinental Media G.P. This article first appeared in the October 2016 edition of Canadian Insurance Top Broker magazine