In today’s technology-driven world, collaboration with coworkers is easier than ever. However, nearly half of all workers report that meetings are a big distraction and waste a big portion of the work day. Making your meetings more productive can mean making collaboration more efficient and less burdensome to all involved. Here are some ways to improve your meetings.
Check the Guest List
Too many cooks spoil the broth – and too many people at a meeting can really cut into your productivity. For most meetings, you should limit the people invited to only those who are directly involved in the matters being discussed. For informational meetings, make attendance optional so employees aren’t wasting time getting updates that they could have just as easily read in a memo.
Stick to the Agenda
All meetings should have an agenda. The goals should be on collaboration and setting future actions. Meetings can be more efficient if you “start at the end”, stating your desired outcomes and then discuss progress and actions to reach them. Send out the agenda in advance, and make a point to stick to it.
Recap the Meeting
During the meeting you should agree on actions and next steps, who is responsible, and when they are due. After the meeting, these items should be recapped in an email and sent to all the participants and any other interested parties. This will help keep everyone on track and moving forward with no questions as to what was agreed upon.
Research has shown that standing up during meetings can help everyone move faster and come to decisions sooner. Standing allows for movement, which keeps people more engaged and focused on the task at hand.
Plan Your Ending
Meetings that drag on too long can cause people to lose focus and the meeting to end on an unproductive note. Even if you schedule a full hour for a meeting, try to end 10-15 minutes early. This gives people time to ask questions and relax before moving on to their next meeting or task. Be sure to also leave a few minutes at the end of your agenda to review the next steps before adjourning.
While meetings are an important part of collaborative work, often they can be burdensome and disrupt the work day. Taking steps to improve your meeting strategies can help you have efficient and productive meetings that benefit your business.