How to Plan a Great Meeting

Keeping employees up-to-date on everything from new collections to customer service issues is critical as a jewelry retailer. Emails and in-person chats are great for managing a multitude of daily matters. But regular staff meetings are also indispensable to a successful business.

Of course, many people loathe meetings. We’ve all suffered through boring, even pointless, ones. But creating tightly focused agendas that encourage staff interaction can result in meetings that boost morale and revenue.

Leave the lecturing to the college professors.
“I’ve seen too many meetings where people stand up and talk about what you could have read in a memo,” says Doug Fleener, president of retail consulting firm Dynamic Experiences Group. “If you’ve got new products or a new process taking place, put that out [in writing] in advance so that the meetings can be dedicated to role-playing and answering questions.” And employee engagement and interaction is the glue to any good meeting. When people aren’t involved, Fleener adds, “it’s a one-way conversation.”

Plan meticulously and stick to a clock.
“Too many meetings [are] not planned,” says retail expert/author Rick Segel. “They have four subjects to cover; they go on and on. The first subject is covered, but not the others. There has to be a time limit.” Says Fleener: “Ask yourself, ‘What are we going to be doing better, different, more of, less of?’ Build your agenda around that.”

Consider providing a written agenda in advance.
“Think back to your classroom days,” says Nicole Leinbach Reyhle, a retail author, consultant, and speaker. “If you have a syllabus or something that identifies what to expect up front, it helps when you’re walking into it.” 

Lengthy meetings should be rarities.
“You have to be realistic with scheduling,” she adds, “but a half-hour powwow session—that’s fantastic. If you strive to do something…with more engagement, that can be between an hour and two hours.” Segel, meanwhile, thinks meetings “should not last any longer than 45 minutes maximum” because “people get bored.”

Strive to make it personal and fun.
“Weekly staff meetings can be extremely routine and boring,” says Fleener. “So you need to play games, make it fun. People should leave feeling inspired. Make it something people want to come to rather than something people have to come to.”

A version of this story appeared in the November 2013 issue of JCK magazine.

(Thomas Barwick/Getty Images)

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JCK Senior Editor

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