Avoid Death By Meetings: 9 Ways to Make Meetings More Productive
How often do you have to sit through a company meeting? Once a week? Once a day? Once an HOUR?
Businesses today are suffering from Death by Meetings – too many meetings that just don’t accomplish anything!
Recent research has shown that most business leaders spend more than 60% of their time in meeting after meeting, with less than 15% of their time for working alone. It’s taking a huge toll on productivity, and not just for leaders! Every staff member dragged into a meeting is likely to experience reduced productivity for the rest of the day.
If you’re groaning every time another meeting gets scheduled, knowing it’s just going to be an hour of your day wasted AGAIN, it’s time to rethink how you handle your meetings.
Here are 9 Ways to Make Meetings More Productive:
- Cut down!
The first (and often hardest) step is to simply cut down on the number of meetings. Do you really need a daily check-in for EVERYONE? Most meetings are “mandated” but don’t really go anywhere – see if you can change them into email memos or into one-on-ones. If there’s no problem that needs solving, there’s no need for a meeting.
- Be realistic.
Set a hard amount of time for each meeting and be realistic about how many items can be covered in that amount of time. Don’t try to squeeze 14 points into a half hour meeting! Again, what can you change into emails or one-on-ones?
For every meeting, decide what’s most important and talk about that first. If it ends up taking up more time than you expected, discard the other items and put them for another time. This will help you get better at being more realistic!
- Stay relevant.
Keep meetings relevant to the people attending. If someone’s in the room who doesn’t need to be there for a particular item, don’t discuss that item in that meeting! If everyone but one person already knows all about something, don’t waste time going over it again for the benefit of one person – give them catch-up material before or after the meeting so everything flows faster.
- Plan ahead.
If you don’t know what you’ll be talking about in the meeting, it WILL be a waste of time. Have an agenda, stick to it, and make sure all attendees are prepared ahead of time. If someone always shows up unprepared, talk to them and work on a solution to bring them up to speed.
- Stay accountable.
It’s all too easy to set goals in one meeting that NEVER get met by the time the next one rolls around. Pair attendees off with each other and have them hold each other accountable. Have them set goals that they’ll ask their partner about next meeting. This will go a long way towards actually accomplishing your goals.
- Crack down!
It’s really easy to go off on tangents in a meeting. While it can be fun to talk about something else, or sometimes new topics arise naturally, you need a way to stay on task. Make someone the meeting “bouncer” – authorized to call out when you’re going off track, so you can right the ship and get focused again.
- Be Multi-Sensory.
People get easily bored in meetings. It’s all the talking – we just aren’t designed to listen for that long without something else to engage us. Use other techniques to help you keep everyone engaged:
- Visuals like graphics or illustrations
- Customer testimonials
- Guest speakers
- Hands-on props that need to be handled
- Product demos
- Q-A time
- Have a Sense of Humour
Again, people get easily bored in meetings. So try to have fun. Encourage laughter. This will not only help people engage better, but it also lowers blood pressure, relieves stress, and fosters creativity. You’ll rarely feel like a meeting was a waste of time if people were able to laugh.
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