We’ve all been stuck in ineffective meetings. They overrun on time, one person dominate the conversation and the wander off topic.
Whilst we can’t always control other people’s meetings (other than by being a considerate attendee) we can control our own.
Here are a few tips for chairing effective meetings:
- Circulate a clear agenda including timings
- Circulate any papers and other information beforehand. A couple of days before is best as, if you send things out too early, people set them to one side to read later and then forget
- Only invite the necessary people, you can send minutes to others
- Take contemporaneous minutes so that they can be circulated straight away rather than trying to find time to write them up afterwards.
- All actions should be assigned a clear name and due date
- Start the meeting on time. Respect the time of those who have made the effort to turn up on time rather than waiting for somebody who can’t be bothered. If you have a reputation for starting promptly most people will make more of an effort
- If you need more time to discuss and item then schedule a separate meeting
- Control the personalities; silence the overtalkers and encourage and listen to the introverts.
Initially I chose a 25 hour working week in order to fit around my small kids. These days they’re teenagers and (in normal times) busy with their own lives but I still continue to work shorter hours because, as the advert says, I’m worth it. But it’s not just me who is worth it, we all deserve a decent work-life balance.
It’s up to you whether you structure your time into fewer days a week, or 5 shorter days, or any other work pattern you fancy. Personally I prefer shorter days because I notice myself getting less effective as the day goes on.
Writing my first book made it quite clear to me that I have peak creativity and mental energy for about two hours per day. This is the time for tricky jobs or the really good quality stuff that moves my business forwards.
After that I switch on to less demanding jobs, the bread and butter of what I do.
Finally I move to admin and emails.
I flex the time to suit myself and I particularly like to take time to have lunch with friends or for language or singing lessons. This leaves the evenings free to focus on family. At the moment I’m using the time to get out of the house in daylight hours to get some exercise and increase my mental wellbeing.
Next week I’ll write about how you prioritise the work you do. (Or, if you’d like a hand to build a business you love, just book a chat about how coaching can help https://calendly.com/hudsonbusiness/consultation )
Have you read the book ‘The 4-hour work week’ by Timothy Ferris?
I read it a few years ago thinking that it would help me to run my business more efficiently in just 4 hours a week. Whilst it does have lots of efficiency tips for any business, it was built around the idea of building a business purely to earn money to finance a lifestyle. While this may be your objective too I was disappointed that there was no thought of creating enjoyable work or focus on serving a client’s needs.
If you haven’t read the book then I can recommend it as it certainly gave me a few ideas that helped me to run a business I loved in a 25-hour work week, and I believe we helped our clients and their businesses too.