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To play on Jane Austen’s infamous quote, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a business meeting, no matter how necessary, will be in want of some purpose. It’s no secret that these meetings are time-consuming and can be rather dull, but not getting anything accomplished in said meetings can leave employees frustrated and make them potentially dread the thought of attending them. This is why, when you call for a business meeting, you need to make sure you get the most out of it. Here are some ways you can ensure that will happen.

 

Know what you want to happen

 

Calling and going into a meeting with no plan is counterproductive and a waste of everyone’s time. If you’re going to have a meeting, you need to know why you’re calling it and the goals you hope to accomplish through the day’s discussion. The meeting shouldn’t be adjourned until you’ve found the answers you were looking for.

 

Create a one-page summary of the meeting

 

Before the meeting begins, write out a one-page summary of what you plan to discuss during that time frame. Print out enough copies for your employees and hand them out at the beginning of the day to give them a chance to look it over. This allows your employees to know what to expect and reduce any anxiety that may occur due to workplace rumors over the meeting’s purpose.

 

Stay on topic

 

When many people are gathered in one room, it’s easy to get off-topic, whether accidentally or on purpose. Prepare accordingly for this, and if people get off-topic anyway, politely circle the discussion back to the reason for gathering in the first place.

 

Don’t leave right away

 

When you’re the one running the meeting, you’ll more likely than not have all of the answers. Leaving as soon as your presentation is done doesn’t leave room for your employees to ask questions, which can lead to confusion down the road. Be patient and linger once everyone is dismissed to allow people to ask clarifying questions.

 

Learn from your mistakes

When planning a meeting, take a look at your past presentations and performances: what went wrong? What went right? Focusing particularly on what went wrong during your last meeting and fixing those mistakes can go a long way toward making sure this time period is productive for everyone. You can also ask your employees for feedback following the meeting and work off of their suggestions for the next one.