In any business, meetings make up a part of your work day. Whether you're part of a big corporate practice, or a small independent you're going to be holding and attending meetings. We're in the same boat, and we have learned some of the makings of a good meeting versus a bad meeting.
Active attendees and a decisive outcome are two things that we think contribute to a good meeting. Whether you're meeting about practice processes, making a big purchase, or hiring new talent for your team you need to make sure you're running a meeting that is putting you on track to meet your end goal. Let's look at these 5 tips for making sure your next meeting is effective and keeping your optical practice efficiency on track.
Keep Them Short
One of the biggest complaints we hear about meetings is that they take up too much time. The longer your meetings are, the more chances there will be of people losing focus or trying to complete other work during the meeting, which is counter-productive. If you're planning a meeting that you think is going to run too long, consider breaking it up into a couple of meetings. It could be that you're trying to fit too much into one meeting instead of keeping just one meeting goal and objective. Plus, if you're keeping up with regularly scheduled meetings that should also help keep your meetings concise and focused.
Make It Memorable
Making your meetings memorable is a good way to keep your team engaged. A Fast Company article had a couple great examples of making meetings more memorable. One way to keep people on time is to start your meetings at an odd time, like 8:18am. Another example from that same article is to encourage coloring during meetings. This type of meeting lets your team color, talk, and decompress, and coloring during a meeting can help promote more active listening and is more beneficial than multitasking on something like email.
In your practice, whipping out coloring books might not make a ton of sense. But, if it's nice outside you could hold your meeting outside, or bring lunch for the team and hold a meeting while you eat. Occupying your team with something else can help keep them actively listening and not multitasking on their phone or other work they are trying to get done.
Stay on Topic
As we mentioned in the point about keeping meetings short, meetings can often run too long when a meeting starts to get off topic. Make sure that whoever is leading the meeting knows when to shut down an off topic discussion to keep the meeting on course. It might be part of your action plan at the end of the meeting to schedule a separate follow up meeting to go over any outside conversations that came up.
Start on Time, End on Time
Starting and ending the meeting on time is a good way to be respectful of everyone's time. If you're showing up late or running way over the meeting time some members might feel like you're not respecting their time. If that is the impression you give off, it could make meeting in the future more difficult by encouraging others to show up late as well.
Define Action Items
Once you get through your meeting agenda, make sure that everyone in the group understands what is coming next, and who is responsible for getting anything done. Ending the meeting with set action items will help you set goals for your next meeting, and keeps everyone on the same page. If, for example, you're meeting with your staff about purchasing new software in the practice, an action item for everyone might be to come with a list of things they can't live without in a new system, or their biggest pain points with your current system. This will increase productivity in any follow up meetings you hold to determine your practice's software needs.
Looking for other ways to stay efficient in your practice? Check out our ebook on 10 Ways to Restore Efficiency.
Originally published in September 2016. Updated in May 2022.