Meetings are a necessary part of every company. However, they can so easily go wrong. One of the main problems many businesspeople have is leaving meetings with the feeling that they haven't really achieved anything. Sometimes, it can seem like you don't know why you met in the first place.
This is generally caused by not having a strong brief or agenda going into the meeting. If you are not 100 per cent sure what your aims are when you get your fellow staff members together then you run the risk of the discussion going around in circles, without ever arriving at a satisfactory conclusion.
If nobody is certain about what the meeting is about, then nobody will be able to adequately prepare for it. Different people will be expecting different things, so they will come ready for a completely different discussion to the one you will actually have.
So, how can you make sure your next meeting has a really strong brief? One way to do it is 'treat it like a tweet'. This refers to the social network Twitter, where users can post whatever they like as long as it is no longer than 140 characters.
You should apply this rule to your brief. Keeping it as short as you can will make sure the purpose of the meeting isn't lost under pages of business language. You can use any rule you like to keep the length down; some people try to sum up their brief in a single sentence, or in just five words!
A good way to focus your meetings is to assume you're meeting to solve a particular problem. Even if you're not, this will still focus your agenda. Think about what you're hoping to achieve and focus that in the form of a specific question to the people attending. That way, they will arrive having planned to answer you.
Strong briefs are one key to having productive meetings. Avoid being vague and you will find that any discussions you have are much more fruitful than you would expect.