How to have a Productive Meeting

How many meetings do you have in a week? According to MIT Sloan Management Review, senior managers attend nearly 23 hours of meetings every week. Meetings are good ways to collaborate and create action amongst a team. However, bad meeting practices can waste time and affect productivity. Which ultimately defeats the point in having the meetings in the first place.

What are some characteristics of a bad meeting?

  1. No timeframe 
  2. No purpose 
  3. No collaboration
  4. No action 

Do any of these ring a bell? If you’re cringing just thinking about it, read on.

Here are some tips to make your meetings better than ever:

  1. Always have an agenda and share at least the one day before. 
  2. Give each topic on the agenda an approximate time slot.  This will help keep the meeting from being consumed by one topic.  Especially for hot-button topics which can easily take over the meeting and not allow any time for other things.
  3. Always have a leader in the meeting.  This person is in charge of time and keeping everyone on topic.
  4. Before the meeting, ask the attendees if there are any edits or additions that need to be made to the agenda. So, there are no surprises or attendees bringing up new topics during the meeting, be sure to give everyone the opportunity to edit, add or remove from the agenda
  5. Make sure everyone reviews the agenda and writes down their talking points. Making sure people come to the meeting prepared will help the meeting go smoother and faster.
  6. Try to avoid multitasking. For example, having snacks or lunches. If the meeting is really long, you may not be able to avoid eating and snacking. However, if you are looking for efficient meetings that get a lot done, try to schedule your meeting outside of break and lunch hours.
  7. Have someone be in charge with recording and distributing a follow-up to everyone. A simple bullet point list of what was covered, outcomes, and important announcements documented in an email to everyone at the meeting and anyone who missed the meeting should suffice.  This will help prompt people to take action on any follow up items and it will also let those who miss the meeting know what was talked about. So they can reach out to a colleague or boss if they have any questions or comments.

What do most of these tips have in common? Planning!  They are all things that can be considered when you do a little bit of planning. Just like you plan your day or week, you should be planning your meetings so they can be productive and efficient.

Here is a FREE meeting agenda sheet to help you get in the habit of planning your meetings. Click Here!

Resource: The Science and Fiction of Meetings by Steven G. Rogelberg, Cliff Scott and John Kello: MIT Sloan Management Review

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