Make Your NGO Meetings More Productive

Meetings….. Few people like to attend meetings because most think they steal valuable time and energy we need to actually do ‘real’ work. Many managers have promised to have ‘short’ meetings but, be real; in Trinidad and Tobago those meetings never start on time, end on time or stay on track. This can be frustrating for everyone involved, especially when your NGO has several meetings per week dealing with various issues.

The truth is, your NGO can benefit from fewer more productive meetings that can serve to build employee morale and team spirit. Here’s how you can change things around:

Add Some Monday Morning Motivation

Mondays already have a bad rapport for sucking the life out of the weekend but it can be transformed into something employees look forward to. No, this doesn’t require sorcery, but a well-structured strategy that aims to set the tone for a purposeful, focused and productive week ahead.

Use this opportunity to acknowledge good work or progress made by employees and motivate and challenge them to work harder and go further during the week ahead.

Plan Ahead with Purpose

Successful meetings don’t just happen. They are well planned and effectively managed by great leaders who can be accountable for the progress of the meeting.

Your meeting needs an agenda that includes not just the topics but the purpose/objectives of the discussion. Start and end times also need to be stated and strictly adhered to. This means clamping down on the ‘ole talk’ and considering a no cell phone policy unless, of course, it is an emergency. Everyone needs to be both physically and mentally present and not scrolling through Facebook, reading emails or worse, following up on Game of Thrones.

Be Prepared

Be sure to email the agenda in advance so staff has time to review, prepare and make suggestions before and not during the meeting which can result in going over time. This also serves to make sure that time is spent making decisions and not giving updates thus reducing the number meetings needed to discuss the same project.

Keep It Small

The purpose of the meeting will dictate who really needs to attend. Managers can later inform the rest of the staff or details can be passed on via emails, memos or staff meetings.

The smaller the meeting the easier it is to maintain focus on the agenda, stick to time frames while allowing everyone to be part of the decision making process.

Provide Clarity

Every meeting should provide crystal clear clarity of what has to be done and who is in charge of making it happen in the week ahead. Have the team recap what they intend to work on and provide deadlines for results.

Get Out of the Boardroom

We know the boardroom is where it all usually goes down but if your NGO is small, you can try switching up the location to prevent falling into a mundane habit. Try the meeting at a coffee shop, park or restaurant a change in scenery can boost mood and creativity.

Place suggestions in a bowl and have an employee randomly choose one at the end of each meeting. If the coffee shop is selected, you know that meeting is going to be filled with yummy goodness.

Meetings are dynamic in their own right, we’d love to learn about your tips for making your meetings more productive. Be sure to share in the comment section below.

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