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GIFT OR CURSE?
When I first entered the business world, I knew I wanted to make money, and I knew I wanted my company to grow. As any good business owner knows, you have to come up with strategies in order to promote company growth and turn a profit. Without mentors, many entrepreneurs learn the ins and outs of running a company as they go along. One of those components is company meetings. At the beginning of my career, I believed that meetings were a waste of time, unproductive, and a way for employees to procrastinate instead of doing their actual work. In a sense, I was right. Staff meetings can be a waste of time if they are conducted poorly, but they are a wonderful tool for promoting productivity if you really know to run a successful meeting. One day, I was chatting with my brother about Teeco Solutions and our weekly routine at the company. I mentioned to my brother, who also happens to run a company of his own, that I despised meetings and I did all I could to avoid them. He asked me why, and then he told me how his meetings are the source of many wonderful and productive ideas for his company. I was shocked. How could anyone pull something valuable out of a meeting? Were my beliefs wrong? I asked my brother how he was able to conduct such successful meetings. These are the tips he shared with me. For every meeting you run, you have to create an agenda. Without specific topics, a start time, and an end time, it’s easy for the group to get distracted or waste time on mundane topics. With an agenda, everyone can stay focused and engaged, and topics are discussed thoroughly but succinctly during their allotted time. Time limits and a detailed list of everything that needs to be covered give your employees more incentive to get things done and stay on topic.
Next, keep your meetings simple. It can be tempting to cram three or four topics into one meeting for the sake of getting ideas out there, but often, your big projects will only be discussed at a surface level, and you will leave the meeting feeling unaccomplished. Instead, focus on one big topic per meeting. This will allow for in-depth discussion and the opportunity for great ideas to arise. If you don’t finish the discussion in one sitting, that’s okay! Schedule a meeting a few days out and continue where you left off. Finally, keep a notebook. At the beginning of each meeting, write down the date, the presenter, and the topic at the top of a fresh page. As the meeting goes on, keep track of who presented which ideas, a to-do list of action items, and important details and reminders. At the end of the meeting, write down the next meeting date. A detailed notebook will keep your life organized, and you will have a record to reference when you begin working on new projects. Notebooks have truly saved me, especially when rehashing the agenda of the last meeting. They also serve as an accountability piece because I can monitor progress on projects and which employees are meeting expectations. If I ask an employee if they have made progress on a project and they tell me no four months in a row, I know we have a problem. Although I used to think meetings were unproductive and useless in business, I am thankful that my brother proved me wrong. By creating an agenda, keeping the meeting simple, and using a notebook, I can conduct productive meetings that promote the success of my company. If you feel like you aren’t getting anything from your company meetings, consider my brother’s tips before you write them off for good.
– Steve Arendt
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