So how many of you have slept through meetings at work? I can imagine almost all of you sheepishly nodding your heads. We’ve all been there. Meetings can be dull and unproductive. Because of this bad reputation, most small businesses avoid meetings because they’d rather do something more ‘productive’ with their time. Meetings are important alright; you definitely need to integrate them into your business practices, provided you hone the skills required to conduct successful and productive meetings. And that’s exactly what we are covering in today’s blog.

Why are Meetings so Crucial for practice success?

Without timely meetings, team members can feel disconnected and misaligned. They wouldn’t know what their goals and objectives are; they would lack motivation and purpose. However, meetings provide an opportunity to seek feedback from team members, to learn what is going on in the practice and to realign team with your purpose and goals.

Meetings Gone Bad

Having meaningful and productive meetings require interaction and purpose, respect and discipline, and most importantly understanding and skills. You cannot just get a bunch of people in a room, state numbers, share to-do lists and expect to yield positive outcomes and generate results. Usually meetings end in more confusion and egos crashing because nobody knew what the purpose was, nobody felt motivated to focus on similar goals and nobody felt like their views and ideas were respected.

A successful meeting needs to be well structured; everyone needs to have a voice, the purpose needs to be aligned and people who are working with you on your business need to be given the opportunity to participate.

Learning the Skills for Effective Meetings

Needless to say, you need to learn some skills on how to hold purposeful meetings that achieve goals. And unlike general belief that some people have it in their DNA to be great leaders and negotiators, it is quite the opposite.

You need to learn how to understand and define the purpose and the outcomes. How do you get people engaged? How do you manage time so that it’s respectful to your work and to the people involved? How do you take notes? Those are basic skills.

Meetings are this confluence where people and work come together. So you need to work on yourself to develop skills like negotiation, hiring, selling, product discovery, de-escalating anxiety. And all these skills need to be sharpened and developed in a meeting context.

Embedding Culture

Culture is extremely important. Culture is the habits and values of your team; so if your culture is one of team work and camaraderie, then you need to reinforce repeated enactment of the things that tell you who you are together. And the best method to do that is through meetings. Dedicating just the first five minutes of a meeting can help achieve that goal beautifully.

One example of a business that incorporates this tactic effectively is Starbucks. At the beginning of every meeting, they offer coffee tasting for their team members. Doing so allows the team members to interact with each other, voice out opinions and suggestions and more importantly make them feel like they are truly connected to the product they are selling to their customers.

It also helps to give your meetings a name. Doing so embodies the culture and boost employee morale. It enables them to understand what it is that they are getting together for and be motivated towards that purpose.

The what’s and why’s of Meetings

You need to know why you are having the meeting in the first place. What goals are you trying to achieve? Some metrics that you may be trying to hit, maybe trying to increase patient satisfaction or revenue per patient. Whatever your growth metric is, you’ve got to be trying to hit some numbers and you can have timely meetings to discuss those metrics.

What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Any business owner will understand the importance of evolving over time. To do things a bit more differently than they did yesterday. Meetings are no different. What works for a team of ten people will not work for a team of fifty. You will need to continue reassess and evolve with each little leap in your practice.

Scheduling Your Meetings

It is highly important to schedule your meetings that they are neither too long nor too short. You need to leave a good amount of time on the calendar for people to complete the goals that you set for them. If they are spending way too much time discussing what they need to be doing and very little time available to actually do it, they will lose motivation.

You keep the meetings too short and you run the risk of not listening to your teams’ contributions. Time blocking is a great tactic. It should be a little chunk of everyone’s time dedicated to meetings and meetings alone.

Listing Priorities

Prioritising is rule one of good business and great meetings. You’d have dozens of different things that will need to be done on any given day or at any one meeting; but you cannot focus on all of them. There is only so much you can achieve so try to only bite what you and your team can chew on. There shouldn’t be more than two or three main tasks or concerns that you focus on in a meeting.

Also make sure that you hold your team members accountable for what they take responsibility for. It is very common for team members to take responsibility for something, only for them to later realize they don’t really have the time for it. The best way to hold them accountable is to have it in writing and to follow up on it from time to time. You can also build in follow up on the tasks discussed last meeting. Do minutes of meetings and distribute them to everyone.

Focused meetings lead to amazing business. They enable the team members to feel a part of the growth and remain updated and motivated on how their contribution in the business is taking it to greater places.

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