Question: 4 Ways to Have Better Meetings

In the run up to our first #StudyCreateDiscuss event at Wood Street Coffee on November 17th ; this week's question, is all about how to make your meetings productive, fun and engaging.
(If you haven't got your ticket, grab on fast! They are going fast!)
After sitting through hundreds of group meetings throughout my life and in the last few months lots (and lots) of 1-2-1 meetings; these four tips have helped me get the best out of my meetings and will help you too!

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1. Set a Personal Agenda


You don't need to share this, it's a personal record for you.  
List all of the outcomes you would like to achieve when meeting someone. Writing things down helps you to remember in the long term and will help you to stay on topic.
If you are the type to go off on a tangent; this is the best way to keep things on track. 

 
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2. Set the location: Phone, Skype or Face to Face?

If you have arranged you meeting and have completed your personal agenda, how long do you think this meeting will be? Could you achieve the same outcome over the phone or via video conference? Sometimes you can achieve more in a meeting that is not face to face. 

3. Hear & Listen

This is possibly the MOST important point. You may have set a personal agenda, decided on a meeting place and have spent half an hour in an engaging conversation. 

As soon as you left you can barely remember the persons name, let alone what you had discussed.
This is a classic case of hearing a conversation, but not listening. 
Only hearing during a meeting can make you look and sound inattentive and unprofessional. It's an easy mistake to make, one study has shown that after a ten minute presentation, only half of the information is retained
Easy and simple tricks to combat this include:
Maintain regular eye contact
If something is important, note it down
Focus all of your attention on the person speaking and not on what you would like to say next.


Think of it this way; if you were the person being listened to, how would you feel if you had to constantly repeat yourself?
Remember, listen AND hear, not just hear.

4. Follow up promptly

Send a follow up email to the person or group you had met with a few hours afterwards.
Not only will this help to reinforce plans you have made during your meeting, but will give you the opportunity give follow up dates or projected timelines.
This is also a wonderful time to confirm your understanding of the meeting; if you do need further clarification, ask now. If you needed them to check dates, or you needed to check dates give a response now. 
This not only will this bolster the progress you've made in meeting but will help to continue the conversation. 

These are the first steps to help you get the most out of your meetings, What else would you? let us know in the comments below. What helps you, could help others too.