April 24, 2017 | 4-minute read (683 words)
Meetings at their core aren’t bad things, yet many employees dread them.
You can set a culture in your startup for meetings that work and don’t destroy the day and your team’s morale.
Let’s look at how startups can have more effective meetings.
Abide by the Rule of Seven
The first thing you want to do is manage your invite list.
In the past, companies have used the mantra, “the more, the merrier.” This isn’t the best operating procedure.
Begin your startup on the right foot, and keep your meetings to seven people or less. Unnecessary people get in the way, and too many people can result in a slow, unproductive meeting.
The Rule of 7 says that every attendee over seven reduces the likelihood that you'll make good, quick, executable decisions by 10%. That means once you have 16 people in a meeting, your effectiveness drops to zero.
Set Meeting Times
It’s a good idea to set your meeting beginning and ending times. For example, schedule your meeting for 30 or 60 minutes and don’t go over.
The meetings that drag on all afternoon are detrimental to your startup and the productivity of your employees.
Each non-productive minute of your meeting eats at your bottom line.
Consider TinyPulse, which takes this notion a step further. They set a strict meeting start time of 8:48 am. Sound odd?
It is, but according to them, they have basically eliminated tardiness.
So, in addition to setting a meeting length, get creative with your start and end times. This adds a bit of fun in your day and keeps everyone on their toes.
Create an Agenda
Meetings without an agenda are like going on a road trip without a map. Both are aimless endeavors that can go on forever.
Your startup can have more effective meetings if you set an agenda. Once you’ve created your agenda, give each item a time frame as well.
Create your agenda at least one day before the meeting so your team has a chance to look it over. That way everyone is prepared to discuss the materials a hand.
Either watch the clock during the meeting or put someone else in charge of this and stick to your schedule.
Yes, that’s right. It’s virtually impossible to stick to your agenda and your time frame if your team members are on their phones scrolling through email and texts.
Employees should put down anything that’s distracting from your tasks at hand so you can have a more effective meeting.
Consider Plum Organics, who gets out coloring books for their employees during their weekly staff meetings.
The team colors while brainstorming which is highly effective for them.
Meetings don’t have to get the best of you or your team.
You don’t want to hold a meeting just for the sake of having one. With email, text messages and collaboration software, meeting times can be reduced.
The best reason to hold meetings at your startup is for brainstorming, team building, gathering input and making decisions that have to be done by a group.
For the most effective meetings, think about the reason you want to have one. Ask yourself if it’s really necessary. If it is, decide on a time frame, topic and/or purpose and small list of invitees.
Create your agenda and stick with it.
Finally, for every item on your agenda, assign someone to follow up. You want to leave your meeting with someone directly responsible for each action item listed.
This ensures follow-up and follow-through for your meeting. Once this is done, you can count the meeting as effective.
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