Quick tips for a productive meeting

One of the most inefficient tasks of an organisation is having numerous meetings that do not solve any problems. Knowing how to arrange and carry out a productive meeting takes proper planning and an understanding of the task at hand.

Here are a few tips:

Be Strategic

According to TinyPulse, they begin their daily staff meetings at 8:48 am. “It’s eliminated tardiness almost completely,” says communications manager Neal McNamara.

Some of the best meetings occur on an off-peak time or a day of the week where there is not that much going on.

This makes it easier for the participants to focus and most of all, be available. The worst thing that can happen is to send out an agenda for a meeting that no one has time to prepare for. If you want to get the most out of the attendees, give them a few days to digest the agenda. Use SMS texting software to remind them of the meeting, convey expectations, and be prepared.

Start on time

It has been estimated that a third of all meetings start late. You have already given out the agenda and conveyed your expectations. Once it’s time for the meeting, don’t give anyone time to mingle. Starting on time shows everyone that you value their time and don’t want to waste any moment of it on non-essential things. Once everyone sees you are starting on time and mean business, they are more apt to be on time and present in both mind and body.

Stick to the agenda

47% of workers consider excessive and lengthy meetings a waste of time. Once you have covered the agenda, wrap up the meeting immediately. Efficiency is key in getting people to not only show up, but participate. Setting a maximum time limit on each item works very well, especially if you have a number of people that have to present information. There should be a set start time, and if possible, a targeted finishing time as well. For those people that show up late, let them know a recap will be sent out.

Move around

Make it a rule of thumb to have the person who is presenting move around the room. This keeps other attendees alert. 39% of employees have admitted to falling asleep during a meeting, and over 70% of employees bring other work to meetings to keep busy. Utilising strategies that forces everyone to focus and actively participate will assist in getting the meeting to flow and move quickly through each agenda item. This promotes collaboration and engagement from the entire team.

Have solid takeaways

Also called actions or next steps, there should be something for everyone to reflect on and complete. This enhances productivity, and gives accountability to each individual for their own tasks. Takeaways will also help set the stage for the next meeting agenda, which is an opportunity to close open items and move forward. This can also help cut down on the frequency and length of meetings, promoting productivity and lean, efficient work environments.

The amount of productivity lost from having unstructured meetings is staggering. Creating a culture of focus and drive can help.

Try using appointment reminders to get everyone together and on the same page. If team members don’t reply and participate, it is a waste of time. You could even experiment with using an online meeting tool to assist in contacting everyone and running a meeting smoothly and productively if not everyone is in the same location.

When utilised correctly, these five tips are a definitive way to conduct productive meetings that encourage focus, participation and results.

Insider's Guide to Better Meetings

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