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5 tips for more productive meetings

5 tips for more productive meetings

Tired of feeling like you’re pouring all your time into meetings? According to Steven Rogelberg, Professor of Organizational Science, Management, and Psychology at the University of North Carolina, only half of the 55 million meetings conducted per day are considered time well spent

So how can you make sure you’re in the right half? We’ve compiled a list of five ways you can improve your meeting methods and lead your teams to success. 

Plan well

The best meetings are well planned out with a clear purpose and agenda. Make sure you distribute this agenda to everyone involved beforehand so that they can review and come in prepared. 

  • Decide if the topic requires a meeting. Generally, status updates can be done without disrupting everyone from their work via email, workplace communication platforms, or even keeping track of everyone’s progress on a whiteboard in the office. 
  • Assess the attendees – is everyone necessary? Is someone being left out? As a rule of thumb, 7 people or less is the ideal number of participants. 
  • Assign roles before the start (facilitator, minute taker, speakers, etc.).

Most calendars will automatically set aside meeting times in half-hour or hour blocks, but there’s no rule that a meeting has to be that long. In fact, short meetings have proven to be more effective if properly utilised. 

Slack compiled a list of ideal meeting lengths based on the type of meeting, seen below: 

Start on time

This may feel like a simple one, but nearly 40% of meetings start late. This can mean running out of time for the important items on your agenda and making attendees irritated before the meeting even begins, limiting the amount that can actually get done. 

A note for virtual meetings: you may want to open the meeting a few minutes earlier than scheduled, as this can be a great way for employees who may not see each other otherwise to engage.

Break things up

Science has shown that our attention spans are limited to around ten minutes, while the average meeting runs for 30 minutes or longer. This has become an even greater challenge now that so many of our meetings have moved to forums like Zoom and Teams, with leaders struggling to maintain engagement. 

An effective strategy to keep everyone engaged is to have a few different people present. Not only does this reinvigorate attendees, but it gives them a feeling of ownership over a certain area or project. 

Follow up

The worst waste of time is when nothing manifests from a meeting. To ensure that you and your team are on task, there are a few things you should consider:

  • Create a set of concise notes and action items that are available to all relevant parties. A great way to do this can be on Google Docs or other collaborative tools. 
  • Assign concrete action items to specific attendees, ensuring that someone is responsible for each.
  • If follow-up information is requested or promised, make sure you follow through!

Hone your skills

Like all things, running efficient meetings gets easier with time. The more you engage, the better you’ll get. 

There are a lot of skills involved in meeting management: leadership, communication, group facilitation, planning, time management, problem-solving, conflict management, and more. Interestingly, only one in five leaders receives the training they need to properly run their meetings. 

Want to learn how you can lead meetings more effectively? Our People Management course has everything you need to make your meetings a powerhouse of productivity. Get in touch today for a quick, no-fuss quote.

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