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How to organize an effective job meeting

As for many other Italian companies, Covid-19 phase 2 marked the coming back to the office for Peritus. Now that we have to limit the human contacts as much as possible, we are wondering how to optimize the meetings’ time, when it is necessary to do them and how to face them better. Beyond the precautions caused by Covid-19, we all know how unnecessary meetings (those for which an email is enough) are a waste of time and energy. If not well planned in advance, meetings can prove to be highly unproductive. On the contrary, if well organised, the meetings can be a precious opportunity for employee involvement and, in the best case, innovation for the company itself.

How to organize stimulating and truly useful meetings for everyone’s work, then? According to a study conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, a solid basic organizational structure is needed, where each team member has a well-defined role and tasks and is aware of the topic on the agenda. The more detailed the meeting schedule, the better. This will help the participants to actively collaborate, according to their skills and the aim’s achievement.

Steven G. Rogelberg, professor of Management and Organization Psychology at the University of North Carolina and author of The Surprising Science of Meetings, in a famous TED Talk, summarizes a set of good practices to invest time and energy in business meetings. Let’s have a look at some of them:

1. Invite as few participants as possible

Involve those who have the information and knowledge to actively take part in the meeting. In order not to make the rest of the staff feel excluded, you can write a report of what has been said and send it by email, preferably within 24 hours after the meeting.

2. Reduce time

Often the meeting takes an hour but, says Rogelberg, the work has the ability to expand for as long as the time dedicated to it. Being in a tight time frame would therefore force you to optimize and increase efficiency.

3. Be a good guest

Welcome your guests and introduce them if they don’t know each other. If the meeting is live, get water and snacks in advance.

4. Change format

Instead of choosing the usual meeting room, go out for a walk. Apparently, open-air meetings boost creativity and increase the levels of satisfaction of the participants. These must be limited in number (maximum 2 or 3, including you) and must be notified in advance in order to dress properly for a walk.

5. Organize the meeting on the basis of the questions

Instead of setting a meeting by topic, focus on the questions: it will help you choose the participants, because (the ones who can answer the questions). The meeting’s ending will be clearer, too: that means, when all the questions find an answer.

6. Ask for evaluation

Those who host a meeting often don’t realize how things really went for the audience. It is advisable to constantly ask the participants for feedback and make things right accordingly. This will offer further ideas and incentives to improve.

To conclude, before committing one’s own time and that of others in a meeting, it is good to ask yourself:

– Do we really need to have this meeting? Or can I get to the point by speaking directly to the employees or by sending an email?

– Why do you need to have a meeting? What are the goals I want to achieve, which people (and how long) do I need to achieve them?

Time is a precious and limited resource, therefore our moral imperative behind the organization of a business meeting is: always respect the time of others and yours.

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