Meetings are a necessary part of doing business, but not every employee will jump at the invitation to attend one. Meetings take valuable time away from getting work done, they can be boring, tedious, and even seen as a complete waste of time by some.
To mitigate these factors, here are some handy tips to pump some lifeblood into your meetings: eight easy-to-implement methodologies that will have your team thinking differently about meeting time:
Meeting productivity tip #1: always have a stated agenda
If you call meetings without any specific purpose, you run the risk of it quickly degenerating into a social gathering. If you want to promote productivity, make sure you establish an itemized agenda in advance and stick to it.
Meeting productivity tip #2: have a firm start and end time
If your attendees know they only have a short time to work with, and they know what will be discussed going in, they are more likely to focus on results. If the meeting time is open-ended, there is greater potential to wander off-topic.
Meeting productivity tip #3: make sure the right people are there
Invite people to your meetings based on the topics to be covered. If certain individuals don’t need to be there, don’t invite them. For example, finance people don’t necessarily need to be in sales meetings.
Meeting productivity tip #4: keep it short, simple, and to the point
Don’t try to cram a million things into your agenda. Pick two or three items and plan to spend a set amount of time on each one.
Meeting productivity tip #5: keep the technology to a minimum
Don’t drag out your meeting with useless visuals. PowerPoint presentations are often redundant, with the presenter basically reading verbatim from the slides. Plus, you’ll save all that time you would have used to set up your computer, get the a/v system working, and all that. Moving on …
Meeting productivity tip #6: be a meeting leader
Leading your meeting with purpose will ensure that you are moving your agenda along in a timely manner. This means you are responsible for steering the direction of the meeting and ensuring that the discussion doesn’t go off-topic. Be firm. Be the boss.
Meeting productivity tip #7: take actual notes, turn off the laptops/tablets/smartphones
There is one sure fire way to lose an audience: let them use their devices in a meeting. No matter what the intention is, the reality is that most people will be looking at emails or texts, or checking their twitter feed, given the opportunity. Encourage attendees to turn off their tech and put pen to paper.
Meeting productivity tip #8: for smaller meetings, why not walk and talk
Some fresh air and a change of scenery does wonders to stimulate creative thinking. If you have a small group, why not take it outdoors for a walk-and-talk session? Many of the world’s greatest thinkers swore by this practice, among them Aristotle, Charles Dickens, Sigmund Freud, Harry S. Truman, and Steve Jobs.
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