This article comes from Entrepreneur.
Meeting etiquette is key to good business, as face time allows for clear communication and effective decision-making. But all too often, meetings run longer than they should and fail to keep attendees engaged.
Whether you’re meeting with partners, vendors or employees, showcase your boardroom brilliance with these meeting musts.
A clear goal will set the tone for the meeting and determine its direction. Your goal should be specific and measurable. If you’re expecting attendees to brainstorm, ask each participant to arrive with a list of ideas.
Meetings can be expensive. To calculate the precise cost, multiply the hourly wage of each person present by the length of the gathering. If your objective can be met through e-mail, conference call, Skype, or even a quick one-on-one discussion, skip the meeting altogether.
The most effective meetings involve stakeholders to ensure decisions can be made immediately. If a key decision-maker is unavailable, ask a subordinate to attend. Ideally, this person will be able to speak for their supervisor, and–at the very least–take notes and report back.
Routine meetings designed to touch base with employees and discuss status reports can usually be accomplished in 15 minutes or less. You’ll be more likely to keep the meeting short and to the point, if everyone remains standing.
If you want each meeting participant to be fully engaged, avoid Monday mornings, when everyone is catching up on e-mail. Also avoid Friday afternoons, when employees are busy wrapping up the week and looking forward to the weekend. Schedule meetings on a day and time when participants are most likely to engage.
Meetings that drag on for hours cause attendees to lose patience and focus. Attention spans are short, and time is valuable. The most productive meetings start on time and end on time.
Don’t leave the most important topics for last. To ensure that the highest priority objectives are met, discuss the most pertinent issues first. That way, if someone needs to step away or leave the meeting early, you’ll still have accomplished your main goals.
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