If you’re in business, you have meetings. The key is to be focused on the important factors. Otherwise, don’t have meetings. They simply add one more thing to your and your staff’s already overloaded to do lists. It’s important to meet and manage your early education company (childcare centers, preschools, Montessori, special needs or private elementary schools) proactively. Here are a few ways to be proactive and spend your time and energy more efficiently and effectively.
1. Don’t have a standard “every Monday at 9:00 am” type of meeting. These meetings become routine very quickly. Have meetings because you need to have meetings-not because it’s 9:00am on a Monday. Set your meetings for different days and different times.
2. Don’t have a one hour meeting. If there is not enough work to fill the hour, then the meeting meanders and becomes boring for most everyone who isn’t speaking. If there is more work than will fit into the hour, then something gets left out of the conversation or details get missed.
3. If you can avoid it, don’t have the meeting in the exact same place every time. If you’re meeting with your management team, get off the campus and find a private area in a restaurant or some other venue outside of your centers or schools. If you’re meeting with your teachers, have the meeting catered.
4. Pick times during the day when your staff has a high energy level so they are more likely to contribute positively to the meeting-not at the end of the day when they just want to finish and go home.
5. Make sure to advise staff of the meeting times and places well in advance so they can be prepared.
6. Encourage your staff to bring their own questions and ideas to meetings. There is no reason to think that good ideas can only come from an owner or executive. Your teachers talk with and listen to your parents. The odds of receiving good ideas grow exponentially when you allow others to contribute.
7. Make sure you are the most well prepared person in the room when you start your meetings. Remember, your staff will follow your lead… good or bad. Never try to “wing it”. Have copies of the meeting agenda to help everyone to stay focused.
8. To determine whether you need more, fewer, longer or shorter meetings, review your meeting agenda immediately after your meeting, and determine how much was actually accomplished in the meeting.
If you follow these strategies, you’ll find that meetings will become more energetic and productive. They will be a source of creativity and problem solving. As strange or unlikely as it may seem to you right now, people will look forward to the meetings, and your company will reap the benefits.