Meetings taking up a huge percentage of our working-day (studies show that people spend over one-third of their working-day in meetings).
Therefore, it’s critical that we get the most out of them. Unproductive meetings can cost organisations lots of money, particularly large meetings, so its crucial they are fruitful.
On the flip side, well planned and organised meetings can be a lucrative investment for businesses as its during these collaborative forums that ideas are born, products are innovated and plans are curated.
Here’s 7 ways to make your meetings more productive.
1. Don’t have them unless you need them!
Its easy fall into the trap of having meetings about meetings. Ask yourself before you organise a one-off or recurring meeting, what are the top 3 outcomes that you desire, and is there any other way to achieve these outcomes? Ie. via task management or collaboration forums. Meetings should be clear, concise and focus on achieving outcomes.
2. Start on time
Don’t wait, if a member hasn’t arrived on time don’t feel bad to commence the meeting without their attendance. When they arrive, inform them of where you have reached in the meeting’s agenda and allow them to follow from there. Resist the time-wasting urge to relay the message again, if needed they can follow up after the meeting has ended.
3. Have an Agenda
Obvious suggestion? Well surprisingly enough more than 60% of meetings commence with an unprepared agenda! Be sure and specific about the points being discussed, allow the attendees to determine exactly what is being discussed ensuring the meeting is focused and productive. Don’t forget to ensure the attendees each have a copy of the agenda prior to the meeting. It’s a good idea to make sure the agenda is visual, on screen or written on a whiteboard.
4. Communicate objectives and desired outcomes
Inform your attendees as to the results expected from this meeting, to ensure that they can contribute in a useful and meaningful way to facilitate the desired results being obtained. Give them a sense of purpose and make them feel valued. If you meeting is an important one, such as a strategy meeting, ask every attendee to write what they would like to get out of the meeting on a sticky note / whiteboard and discuss before the meeting commences.
5. Limit to required attendees, and encourage contribution
Invite those who are required to discuss the topic on hand, and encourage everyone to contribute and add value to your meeting objectives. Don’t feel pressured to go to the meeting because you have been invited, determine what the best use of your time is, and if needed send someone else from your department or team.
6. Stay on topic
Determine time limits for each point discussed, ensure that other topics that arise are effectively reschedule for the next meeting to make your meeting efficient and smart. Determine priority topics, this allows you to ensure that the vital and most valuable points are discussed to ensure the meeting is focused and pointed. If your discussion gets off topic, the facilitator or meeting lead can regain focus by physically getting attention such as ringing a bell, blowing a whistle or waving a flag!
7. Keep the meeting short and concise
Ensure your agendas are focused and specific, and free of clutter, these means that only necessary points are discussed and consequently your meetings should be short and concise. Also keeping your meetings short and concise ensures your attendees remain focused and enthused throughout the duration of the meeting! Using a timer is a great way of keeping track of time, especially a visual timer. We find a large sand timer is a great way to keep everyone time-aware!
All in all, meetings are very effective when well managed, and attendees are engaged. Use them to your advantage to solve complex problems, make strategic plans, drive staff engagement and make the whole organisation more productive.
At Myndflo, we are on a mission to help people and teams make big ideas happen, by creating tools and methods to drive engagement, collaboration and unlock creativity.
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