According to Fellow’s 2021 meeting statistics report, here are the top 5 problems people have with meetings:
- Status updates
- Going off topics
- Lack of preparation
- No clear takeaways
- Time management
So, meeting requirements ensure the proper steps are taken to get the most out of your meetings before, during, and after, to avoid common problems.
Why are meeting requirements important?
Meeting requirements ensure that you take the necessary steps to have a productive, effective meeting. An unproductive meeting wastes both time and money, since you’re essentially paying employees to do nothing. So, while meeting requirements may seem tedious, they’ll save you and the company time and money in the long run.
One way to make sure all of your meeting requirements are met is by establishing a routine. At the start of each day, you could set aside time to check your upcoming meetings, decide if those meetings are needed, then take the necessary steps to make them productive and effective.
Productive meetings require a collaborative meeting agenda that all attendees can contribute to. Try using a tool like Fellow to save time and hold delightful meetings!
12 requirements for a productive meeting
Having a productive meeting is essential, and there are a few things you can do to foster this productivity. Here are our 12 requirements for a productive meeting:
- Decide if a meeting is necessary
- Only include people that are actually needed
- Create and share a meeting agenda
- Set up technology before the meeting starts
- Start and end the meeting on tim
- Stay on topic
- Have clear action items
- Allow for questions, but limit discussion time
- Send out post-meeting to-do’s
- Evaluate the effectiveness of the meeting
- Send a follow up with meeting minutes
- Schedule the next meeting
1 Decide if a meeting is necessary
“To plan more effective meetings, start by asking whether a meeting needs to take place,” says Andrew Rains, Chief Commercial Officer at Automotive Mastermind. We’re busy enough as it is, and having unnecessary meetings only takes up more valuable time. For instance, recurring meetings could become unnecessary if you’re having the meeting because it’s routine, not because there’s something to be discussed. So, it’s important to decide whether your meetings are necessary before having them.
Another thing to keep in mind is if the meeting actually needs to be a meeting. People often default to Zoom meetings anytime they have something to talk about in remote environments. However, this overwhelm of meetings can contribute to Zoom fatigue. To alleviate this fatigue, try seeing whether the meeting can be a phone call or emai insteadl.
2 Only include people that are actually needed
Overcrowded meetings are unproductive because they usually take longer and have more distractions. Also, when there are a lot of people in a meeting, fewer people get to share their thoughts. It’s best to determine who actually needs to attend instead of inviting everyone.
“Limit the number of people at the meeting. After about 5 people in the meeting, it switches from focused work, problem-solving, and planning to updates and discussion. For each person at the meeting, consider why they *don’t* need to be there,” says Charlie Gilkey, author of Start Finishing.
3 Create and share a meeting agenda before the meeting
A meeting agenda is key to a successful meeting. Using a meeting management application like Fellow, users can collaborate on the agenda to ensure everyone has an opportunity to talk. It’s important to share the meeting agenda with attendees 24 hours before the meeting to allow them time to add their ideas and prepare for the meeting.
Moreover, an agenda automatically appears once a meeting has been created with Fellow. So, instead of the host having to send out the meeting agenda, all attendees have immediate access to it, eliminating one more tedious step.
4 Set up technology before the meeting starts
With remote work, technical difficulties are inevitable. But, if you set up your technology before the meeting starts, you’ll have time to figure out another plan if technology fails you. Whether this means moving locations so you have a more stable internet connection, or using a different video conferencing application, setting up before the meeting gives you time to resolve these issues.
5 Start and end the meeting on time
Time is valuable, and nobody likes to waste it. It’s important to respect attendees’ time by starting and ending your meetings on time. An excellent way to stay on track is by allotting times to each section of your meeting agenda. You could also assign a time-keeper who works hand-in-hand with the meeting host to ensure that the time allotted on the meeting agenda is followed.
6 Stay on topic
Following your meeting agenda and staying on topic will also help ensure that your meeting starts and ends on time. To help you stay on topic, the time-keeper is also responsible for redirecting people’s attention back to the main points and keeping to a reasonable time limit for each topic discussed.
7 Have clear action items
Meetings that result in no actions are unproductive. Having clear action items allows everyone to have a clear idea of their next steps. Whether it’s a concrete task like working on assignment X or an abstract task like creating more content as a team, there should always be a next step.
Using Fellow, you can easily assign action items directly on the meeting agenda. These action items can also be assigned to a specific team member, and can be assigned a due date to promote accountability.
8 Allow for questions, but limit each action item’s discussion time
Time should be allotted for questions during your meetings, but too many questions can result in longer meetings than scheduled for. Limiting each action item’s discussion time ensures that enough time is left at the end for questions.
Here are four rules your team can follow to ask the right questions, according to Avery Blank, Forbes contributor:
- Follow the Google rule – if you can quickly Google it, don’t ask it.
- Avoid cringe-worthy words or phrases – For example, “This may seem stupid but…”
- Stop at the question mark – after you’ve asked the question, let people answer it.
- Don’t ask more than 2 questions at a time – asking too many questions at once risks losing the audience’s attention.
9 Send out post-meeting to-do’s
According to Paul Axtell, Harvard Business Review contributor, “to make sure productivity doesn’t slow after you walk out of the room, do two things after and in between meetings: Quickly send out clear and concise meeting notes and follow up on the commitments made.” These meeting recaps can be sent right from Fellow with the click of a button!
10 Evaluate the effectiveness of the meeting
To evaluate the effectiveness of a meeting, Shep Hyken, Forbes contributor, suggests asking what could have made the meeting better. “Remember that there’s a cost attached to every meeting—there are the salaries of the people in front of you as well as the loss in productivity. But if your meeting is effective, it is worth the cost in time spent,” says Hyken. So, determine the strengths and weaknesses of your meeting to learn what could be done better next time.
Using Fellow, users can request post-meeting feedback, including a star rating of the overall meeting, agenda structure, and meeting length. This is useful for the meeting host to get a sense of how other attendees rate the effectiveness of the meeting, and to receive feedback on what to change.
11 Send a follow up with meeting minutes
A follow-up email is sent to your meeting attendees after the meeting ends. It’s essential to send a follow-up email to show appreciation for your meeting attendees and to foster a positive environment and relationships with team members.
Your follow-up email should include your meeting minutes, a written record of the conversation and decisions made during the meeting. Additionally, your attendees will remember the last thing they see, so sending a follow-up email will remind them of the key points discussed during the meeting.
12 Schedule the next meeting
Before you get caught up in other work, set aside time to schedule your next meeting. This will ensure that meetings are scheduled with plenty of time for preparation, and not at the last minute. You should also add the date and time of your next meeting at the bottom of your meeting notes so team members are reminded of the next one.
Meeting requirements ensure that you have a productive, effective meeting. So, next time you’re hosting or attending a meeting, use this blog as your meeting requirements checklist and see the benefits for yourself!