There is a good chance you’ve walked out of a meeting—or many—thinking “This was a waste of time.” Lots of negative opinions regarding meetings tend to be about them being boring, uninspired, or simply just required events in the company but not at all useful.
I’m here to tell you that meetings don’t have to be that way.
Done right, meetings can drive your company forward; you just have to know how to make them productive.
Prepare an Agenda
It is no question that every productive meeting absolutely needs a solid agenda ahead of time. Everyone attending needs to know that the meeting has a purpose and, to keep it productive, the meeting needs to stick to that purpose—get rid of the chance for stray topics to get you off track.
“Purpose is integral to you, your business, and your employees. Without purpose, you and your team can easily become lost, bored, or dissatisfied.” – Cameron Herold
With an agenda, everyone can come prepared. If the entire team is very clear on what they’ll be discussing then no one comes in with nothing to contribute.
Time is Everything
Punctuality is not just a virtue, it’s about respect. When everyone is respectful of each other’s time meetings run a lot better. If someone decides to be late, the frustration the other people feel about that can impact the quality of their contribution to the meeting.
“Because time is money, and money is, therefore, someone’s time, you don’t want to waste their time or their money by being late. And you definitely don’t want to waste either of yours.” – Cameron Herold interviewed by Forbes
Meetings take the time you give to them, so limit that time. Maybe cut it in half if the usual meetings tend to feel slow, and you can increase productivity immensely.
If someone isn’t vital to the meeting then simply don’t let them attend.
“Everyone needs to be heard during a meeting. If you don’t need to hear from someone in the meeting, and that person silently sits in his or her chair, then that person didn’t need to be there.” – Cameron Herold
To foster strong communication everyone should have something to say. They should feel as if it’s important that they are there.
Know Your Workweek
It’s important to know your workweek inside and out—when your busiest times are, when your lulls are, etc—which also means you need to know your meeting schedule inside and out.
“Block your calendar to maximize your most productive time of day and save meetings for the lulls.” – Medium
It’s also just as useful to decide on specific days of the week to have meetings so that everyone knows which days they will get to work uninterrupted and which days they’ll have to work around a meeting. It’s very useful to have a routine around meetings so that people can get into a productive rhythm around them.
Experiment with a Change in Location
Sometimes plain conference rooms can contribute to the boring and uninspired stigma of meetings. If you’re meeting with a smaller group of people consider bringing that meeting somewhere else. A change in location can often trigger a new sense of productivity.
“When a small group is gathering, I like to take the meeting out of the conference room. Sometimes we will take a walk or find a place outside to sit. To me, a conference room — even a cool-looking one — puts people in “classroom” mode.” – Entrepreneur
When things grow dull, a change in location can be the exact thing needed to spark ideas.
Whether the meeting is big or small, there is always room for more productivity. Meetings are unavoidable so when they happen it’s important to make them matter.
If you have questions or would like more information, I’d be happy to help. Please send an email, and my team will get in touch with you!