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Written by Taylor Ryan
on December 07, 2018
Guest blog written by Taylor Ryan, CMO at Valuer.ai
 
For most people, the idea of being an entrepreneur is exhilarating, especially when you hear about other highly successful entrepreneurs. Being your own boss and working on what you want to do sounds great. But one thing that most people forget is the multiple aspects and challenges of starting up your own company that aren’t that greatOne particular element of a day to day work life that most employees sigh at and dread, are the meetings.
 
 
Talk in meeting
 

Why meetings?

Meetings are essential for distributing and discussing useful information with the employees and discussing the direction that the company is headed. As a startup, meetings are crucial, because employees of the newly founded company sit around to discuss important ideas. Ideas that can help the start-up to thrive, despite challenges that are involved in the early start up phases.

If the meeting has no clear goal or is executed poorly, then employees will gain nothing from the meeting and the time that could have been spent discussing important matters within the company, were instead wasted.

In order to keep meetings as organized and efficient as possible, follow these tips:

 

Keep the meetings short

No one likes a meeting that goes way beyond the intended scheduled time. That’s not only a waste of the employees’ time, but also shows lack of structure and planning of the meeting.

Regardless of what type of agenda or meeting, the startup should keep meetings short and straight to the point. There is nothing more annoying for the employee than to sit in a meeting that is dragging on longer than necessary.

 

Standing meeting

 

Mix it up

Startups don’t have the luxury of wasting precious time. From investment opportunities to selling out the right product on the market, before someone else does it. It’s crucial to be on top of the time management game. Therefore, it’s important that startups do everything they can to minimize time wastage.

A different approach to meetings that startups should consider as opposed to normal meetings, are standing meetings. According to a study standing meetings not only cut down time by 34%, but they also encouraged better information elaboration and group performance.  

Standing meetings also have the advantage of everyone participating in the discussions, as employees are less likely to stare behind a computer screen or their phones while standing up amongst their colleagues.

Or you can try a walking meeting.

 

Have an agenda ready

Nothing screams disorganization more than not having an agenda for a meeting. If there is no set agenda for a meeting, then the topic that should have been discussed will go off track. By having an agenda ready for the employees, they can prepare themselves for the topics to be discussed in the meeting. It will allow for a better flow in the overall meeting if everyone is prepared, rather than just winging it.

There's more to preparing a meeting than just making the agenda - 10 tips to make sure you and the other meeting attendees are well prepared.

 

Be confident when presentation in meeting

 

Be confident

Remember back in high school, when you’d watch a classmate make a presentation and the person would read up from a piece of paper, literally reciting everything that was written down? Nothing kills the viewer's’ interest more than listening to a person who is reading up from a piece of paper.

If the entrepreneur (or any other presenter) is able to exude confidence and present with energy and passion, then the employees will more than likely participate in meetings with the same type of energy. Having this kind of energy and influence on the employees will also motivate them to work harder to ensure the startup reaches new levels in the industry.

 

Clear guidelines

The entrepreneur holding the meeting should give clear instructions and guidelines to the employees on how meetings should proceed. For example, each meeting should have a clear goal to achieve, while also maintaining a set time so that the meeting does not drag on longer than necessary.

“The desired outcome is defined clearly with a stated objective and agenda listing topics or questions to cover, no meeting or call should last more than 30 minutes. Request them [meetings] in advance so you can best prepare and make good use of the time together.” - Tim Ferriss

Set ground rules

Of course, there is a lot on the startup's side that can be done to ensure that the meeting advances as planned, however a lot depends on the employees participation and engagement in the meeting.

If an employee is presenting in front of the crowd, but everyone else is looking at their phones, talking to each other, or simply distracted, then what is the point of the meeting? As the host of the meeting, you have the authority to set ground rules to prevent this from happening. Ensure that everyone is respectful and listens to the presenter in the meeting office and suggest disciplinary action if otherwise.

As a startup that may lack the number as bigger corporations such as Google or Apple, employees might not take whole business idea as serious, had the company been bigger. By showcasing that the startup will not tolerate certain actions during certain moments such as meetings, leaves the impression of authority and determination to the employees that the startup is not messing around and wants to achieve something big like other major corporations.

 

Team meeting around computer

 

Who to invite

When deciding to invite people to a meeting, ask yourself the question: ‘’Do I have to invite everyone to the meeting?’’ Depending on which topic that needs to be discussed, perhaps some employees are more important than others.

As a startup, depending on how early in its life cycle it is, the first few meetings will just contain the key members of the company or potentially the entire team as it’s a small number. However as time progresses and more people join the startup, then startups need to take in consideration, whether or not everyone should be invited, or some should be prioritized over others.

 

Let's recap

Meetings can either go perfectly well, or horribly wrong. There is a lot to take into consideration when deciding whether or not a meeting is appropriate, and even if it is, who should participate and how long should it be and what should the purpose of the meeting be?

Life as an entrepreneur is not all it’s made out to be by other successful startup stories. There are a lot of obstacles and hurdles that they have to deal with, and dealing with the complexity of a meeting is one of them.

By following the simple steps and suggestions listed throughout the article, you’ll be able to organize your meetings much more efficiently. While also benefiting from improved teamwork and increased productivity from your employees.

A win-win for everyone!

 

 

Taylor Ryan has co-founded 5 startups. Current the CMO of a venture backed Ai company Valuer.ai. Mentor, startup junkie, technical marketer, and growth hacker.

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