You can waste many hours of precious time if you don’t run a tight business meeting.
Five ways to do it right:
1. Measure the mood. Snap a mental photo or do a quick rating of participants’ moods as they arrive. When you gauge the mood correctly, people can relax and focus.
2. Remove distractions. Limit or get rid of potential annoyances. Ask attendees to silence their cell phones. Example: “My cousin’s cell phone went off at his own wedding ….” Decide whether you consider handouts a useful tool or a distraction, and act accordingly.
3. Start (and end) on time. The last few minutes before a meeting gets under way usually involve some level of chitchat. However, don’t delay the meeting to extend the camaraderie or wait for stragglers. The last thing you want is to punish those who showed up on time.
4. Begin with a question. For a sales meeting or a product pitch, ask your customers about their pain points. For stakeholders, ask what concerns them most as they look ahead. The question will help you pinpoint what matters to them, so you can address their concerns.
5. Show them why. Attendees need to see why this exchange of information or ideas is important to them. The best meetings keep everyone’s eyes on the prize—even facts and figures should point in that direction. Use stories to drive your point home.
— Adapted from “5 Ways to Host Better Meetings,” Jacqueline Whitmore, Entrepreneur.