Meetings – some people love them, most of us hate them for obvious reasons. As employees, meetings take up valuable time. You sit there, listen to someone talk about a topic that you probably already know about and watch the clock tick your valuable time away – time that should have been spent finishing a report before it hits the deadline. We’ve been there – we sat on that chair, waited for that person who arrived 10 minutes late that eventually led to us closing our work day with tasks still left undone. But meetings don’t have to be that bad. In fact, there are steps that we can take to make our meetings more efficient and, for the spirit of brevity, quicker!
Spend more time planning
The worst meetings are those that are planned poorly. Not only do they waste you and your staff’s valuable time but may also lead to a worthless meeting overall. Important topics are never thought about once and, 99% of it takes time. Asking yourself questions like “do they already know this?” or “how big of a deal is X topic that it deserves to be mentioned in the meeting?” will help you determine how your meeting’s going to pan out and how you weave through all the important matters that need to be discussed.
This step is very simple and only involves one question: “Do I really need him/her to be in this meeting or would a simple e-mail blast do?” If you ask your staff members to give you one reason why they shouldn’t be in your meeting, this one would probably be in their top 2. They already know what’s going to be discussed that they need not be part of the meeting. Sometimes, having a meeting with their managers is all you need to spread the new information. Not only does this help you avoid bad reviews from your staff, it also helps your staff finish their work quicker, leading to a better flowing company.
Start on time
You’ve already made the decision of incorporating everybody in your meeting. So as not to waste your time and theirs, your best move is to start your meeting exactly at the given time. No waiting for any late comers, practice punctuality. Information will eventually get handed down to everybody anyway so why wait for someone? Know that when you hold a meeting, you hold everybody’s time in exchange for important information to be discussed.
Phones placed in the middle
Remember that staff member who’s always on his phone doing things that are not meeting-related? Remember that time when you’re about to close the meeting and asked if anybody had questions and he asks you to repeat the topic that you clearly explained 5 minutes ago? Yes people, technology can sometimes lead to longer meetings. Reality is, if you banned Ipads or smartphones into the room, chances of getting everybody participating and contributing to the meeting greatly increases. Less distraction equals more productivity.
Record and distribute
Appointing someone to record the minutes of the meeting is a great idea of spreading the information, as well as keeping tabs on what transpired that day just in case you need to go back and review it. You could post the minutes in a common place where staff members pass by or, you could do an e-mail blast. As a side note in creating hassle-free e-mail blast, you could try and utilize mailchimp.com and have everybody’s e-mail put on a list and have the minutes of the meeting template ready so you (or whoever is in charge) can just simply type down the details and send it to everybody easily.
Meetings can truly be productive and can contribute largely to success. All it takes is just a couple of steps to make them that way!