Are your weekly meetings long and unproductive? Does the announcement of yet another meeting leave you with a feeling of dread? Your time is already limited, and you have to spend more than an hour in an ineffective meeting. Unnecessary meetings waste time, cost money, decrease morale, and cause an increase in employee turnover. Here’s how you can make the most out of all of your meetings.
Have an agenda.
Make your objective clear. Each meeting must have a defined, specific purpose. What are you looking to accomplish? If it’s just a general meeting, such as a status update, it will probably not be a good use of anyone’s time. Have a purposeful agenda and stick to it.
Understand time is valuable.
Start your meetings on time and end them on time. Be prompt and courteous to others’ time. When people see that you are valuing their limited work time, you’ll be amazed at how many people show up to every meeting you schedule, and they’ll do so eagerly. Try not to schedule any meetings lasting longer than one hour because any meeting longer than one hour will not be an engaging meeting.
Allowing your colleagues to bring their cell phones or computers into the room will result in an ineffective meeting. They will not be focused on the topic at hand, but instead be focused on the technology in front of them. Ban all technology from your future meetings and encourage your colleagues to contribute and focus on the meeting.
Consider the attendee list.
Look at your list of attendees and ask yourself if all of them need to be in the meeting. By cutting down the meeting to those whose presence is necessary, you are saving your company time effortlessly.
Schedule meetings for half the time than originally intended.
Chances are, if you have an allotted time for a meeting, you stretch it to fill all of the time, even if that means adding useless chit-chat to fill that time. Try cutting the intended meeting time in half to cover everything you need to in a tighter time period. You’ll be surprised by how much time you have probably wasted in the past.
Stay focused on the goal.
Present your issues and maintain your focus. Have everything ready and in order before the meeting begins so you’re not wasting time shuffling through papers or searching for documents on your computer.
Consider holding stand-up meetings.
Research has shown that stand-up meetings are more effective than sit-down meetings. In certain cases, decisions can be reached faster without decreasing the quality of the meeting. If it is practical for your office to hold stand-up meetings, it’s worth considering.
Encourage everyone to contribute.
If someone isn’t participating in the meeting, there is a good chance the meeting is a waste of time for them. If the meeting gets off topic, quickly bring the focus back on the intended purpose of the meeting.
Remember, long meetings aren’t just using your valuable time, but everyone’s valuable time, so use that time wisely. If you feel all of your meetings are necessary, consider a change of scenery, like transforming your meeting into a team brainstorm/exercise session with a brisk walk, or renting a large meeting space quarterly to discuss the past and future of your company. Any ideas to make your meetings more effective should be considered.