5 Great Tips for Productive Meetings
Most everyone has been in one of those meetings that lack focus and just seem to drag on and on and on and…well, you get the point. You sit there thinking about your to-do list that’s piling up and wonder how you got invited to the meeting in the first place. According to Brian Scudamore, Contributor at Forbes Magazine, people spend about 31 hours in unproductive meetings each month. AND the U.S. spends a total of $37 billion on salaries for the hours spent in unnecessary meetings! Those statistics are staggering and, quite frankly, a little bit depressing. So, we’ve come up with five tips to hold more productive, effective, and focused meetings.
1) Prepare an Agenda and Send it in Advance
Setting an agenda for a meeting provides structure and helps to keep the meeting on track. The agenda should be sent to meeting participants in advance. This will give participants the opportunity to see what the meeting is about and allow them time to prepare. Having an agenda will also help to ensure that the goals of the meeting are met.
2) Start and End the Meeting on Time
If a meeting doesn’t start on time, then it probably won’t end on time. This sends the message that other people’s time isn’t valuable. Even if there are a few stragglers that arrive late to the meeting, the meeting should still start on time. Similarly, the meeting should end on time. Nobody likes sitting in long, dragged out meetings. Besides, the attention span of most people starts to fade after about 30 minutes.
3) Clarify the Purpose and Goals at the Start of the Meeting
Determine in advance what you want to achieve by holding a meeting. The most effective meetings are the ones that have a clear purpose and goals. The facilitator of a meeting should clearly communicate the purpose and goals at the start of the meeting. This ensures that everyone is on the same page and will help to guide any discussions.
4) Only Invite Essential Personnel
When meetings get too large, some people tend to kick back and let others do all the talking. Others may feel a little shy about talking in front of a large group. Keep meetings small by only inviting essential personnel. Having a smaller group affords everyone the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas.
5) End the Meeting with Next Steps
Next steps should be discussed at the end of every meeting. Action items should also be delegated to the appropriate personnel. This is an essential step that should not be overlooked. Next steps outline the concrete, measurable actions that participants will take to further achieve the goals of the meeting.