We face many daily challenges trying to do “business as normal” at the beginning of 2021. While most things including meetings are happening digitally, there are still some basic principles of holding a meeting that will hold true. Use the following tips and strategies to hold a more effective meeting this year and beyond.
It may seem obvious to prepared for the meeting you will be hosting, but many meetings can start with no clear sense of purpose. You can summarize your topic on a handout, PowerPoint, or word document. Preparing your plan beforehand provides a roadmap for the meeting. Whenever the discussion gets off-topic, you can quickly get back on track, and people can pick it back up quickly. If there is nothing to demonstrate or write, you should ask yourself whether or not there needs to be a meeting.
Distribute the meeting handouts a day before the meeting (earlier if participants need to research before tuning in), and ensure everyone has access to any relevant background materials. Doing this allows people to know why there is a meeting and what is supposed to be accomplished. Of course, participants must review the agenda and background materials and log in to the meeting prepared.
Scheduling the Meeting
When scheduling regular meetings, make sure to look at your companies meeting scheduler. You will also want to take into consideration your participant’s schedules. Ask them when they are free for your meeting. If you know their schedule, you can skip this step. Routine meetings should be scheduled at a reasonably convenient time for the participants.
You may have started to use programs like Zoom, Skype, or other video chat software for company meetings. We are here to help our digital presenters with a few digital meeting tips. Presenters need to consider muting participants or asking their participants to mute themselves in meetings with over six people. Presenters should be the only ones talking until there is an open discussion. You should use webcams when possible. You will also need to know how to share your screen, allow someone else to present, how to unmute/mute your callers (if there is one), and where and how the chat function works.
Start on Time
Start getting prepared for your meeting as soon as you can. Starting the meeting on time requires discipline by the organizer and the participants. If anyone arrives late, it shows a lack of consideration for all those on time. However, if all participants know that the organizer will start the meeting right on time, everyone else will likely make an effort to be on time.
Keeping Participants on Topic
You will find that most groups have at least one person who tends to get off-topic or tell irrelevant stories during meetings*. It is essential that all participants be responsible for gently guiding the meeting back to the proper topic, whether the person getting off-topic is the organizer or the participants.
*Please consider that not all storytelling is bad; storytelling can be beneficial if used deliberately as a teaching tool or mentoring.
End on Time
Ending the meeting on time allows everyone to get back to their work. Keeping the meeting time realistic is essential. The meeting should not run longer than the designated amount of time that everyone agreed upon. Finally, the meeting should only last as long as it takes to accomplish the meeting’s objectives. Allowing the meeting to run any longer than it needs to would be a waste of everyone’s time. If any research or tasks were discussed at the meeting, the meeting organizer should summarize who will do which tasks that need to be done.
Agent Pipeline is always here to help your insurance agency grow beyond its limitations. Click here to check out other content to help your business. We will continue to inform you of other ways to help your insurance agency grow. Contact your Regional Market Manager at Agent Pipeline or call 800-962-4693 today!