Many CEOs have been at both ends of the meeting spectrum. They’ve called meaningless meetings and they’ve also missed out during meetings that aren’t well structuring.

The term ‘flexibility’ means different things for different organisations. It could be that your team is operating in various time zones, or it could simply be that your employees work on rosters. Regardless, the need for leaders to rally the troops at times is crucial, whether it’s around a boardroom table or via Skype.

While some leaders favour formal agendas and perfectly structured minutes for every meeting, others dismiss them unless documenting strategies or financials.

For the regular team catch-up, the art of effective meetings is also known as, ‘Don’t waste everyone’s time’.

Effective leaders or great leaders?

Effective leaders appreciate the difference between conducting a meeting for a corporate conglomerate or a savvy start-up. They understand that a meeting is about truly unpacking a particular objective with their team, and therefore they actively avoid taking up their employees’ time with housekeeping that could be communicated in an email.

Great leaders know that purpose is everything, and that once the objective is clear the other factors become interchangeable.

The directive on an effective meeting should come from a leadership’s understanding of what makes their organisation thrive, and how best to understand areas that require a little more attention than normal.

In order to master the art of effective meetings, you need just follow 3 simple rules:

1. Be clear what the meeting is for

It’s important that your team doesn’t feel dragged to a meeting for the sake of it. Staying in regular contact with each person in your management team everyday via emails and calls, doesn’t negate the need to set aside a moment to come together and look at what’s working and what isn’t. Often, these meetings also allow conversations that may have been occurring on the fringe to have the spotlight. It’s also a great chance for ideas that may have been lost among the activity of day-to-day operations. Just like it is important to set time for yourself each day to regroup, the same should occur on occasion with your team.

2. Consider who is invited

Does everyone need to be in the meeting? Smaller meetings with relevant parties can reduce the need to cover everything at large-scale meetings, which can be used to attend to the core issues. Often meetings are called by leaders without consideration of who they are inviting, and ultimately they end up wasting everyone’s time; time that could have been spent being productive in their actual role.

3. The meeting is for all parties, not an individual

Every company has 1 person who demands more time than anyone else, or who believes their focal points supersede those of their team members. It’s important that managers cut this off and that they can identify when a meeting gets off track. A good leader understands the fluctuating personality types in their team and caters to them, ensuring everyone’s needs are generally met. There are some people who are brilliant behind their computers and don’t want to speak up at meetings, so it would be wrong to force that, just as it is wrong to let one person hijack an entire meeting.

The art of effective meetings boils down to understanding the ‘why’ in what you do, and communicating that well. Every company culture has different ways to work together and build a brilliant company, and it truly all comes does to clarity around why we do what we do.