If you asked ten office workers what the biggest drain on their productivity is, I’m guessing at least 4 of them would say ‘meetings!’ Of all the ways to not spend your time well, we can also count never taking a break, working frequent overtime for little to no reward, and continuously moving that one diary item that you don’t really want to face.
Meetings that just won’t end, meetings with no real agenda, meetings for the sake of meetings (we always have a meeting on a Tuesday!), meetings that no one prepared for – there are plenty of ways to make what should be a quick and simple process into a long, slow tedium.
On the workplace productivity scale of ‘Getting stuff done!’ to ‘May as well have been asleep at my desk,’ meetings can be up there with ‘aimlessly browsing Facebook’ and ‘playing Tetris on the sly’.
But it doesn’t have to be that way!
Next time you’re booking in a meeting, keep these 5 pointers in mind for a meeting that’s concise, effective and well worth everyone’s time:
- Hold that thought - does this really require a whole meeting?! It’s easy to kid yourself that the next item on your list is grouped in with summer hours and whether or not we should be reheating fish in the office microwave in terms of perceived importance – but many things just don’t require a big showy announcement. If it’s something that you can put into an email, just do that. Especially if the item doesn’t require anyone else’s input.
- Everyone loves a train ride - does this meeting have to be done in the office? It’s 2019, so don’t tell me you haven’t got FaceTime. If you absolutely must hold a meeting for this one do-or-die item, explore ways to hold the meeting remotely using Skype, Facebook messenger, conference calls, or even loudspeaker. If you or any of your people are answering emails from their car or their sofa, it should be very simple to arrange a meeting that can be held remotely thanks to technology.
- No respect for my time, no respect for your time – don’t wait around for latecomers. Make the start time of your meeting clear and emphasise that you won’t be holding the door for anyone. Afterwards, send a meeting roundup email as good practice - and so you can’t be blamed for any latecomers being ‘out of the loop’. And set a good example by being on time yourself.
- Stay on point – there’s a reason you called this meeting so it should be worth dragging all your people away from their desks. Make all of your points clearly and concisely, and don’t stray off topic. That announcement about the new break room vending machine can have its own email.
- Finish on time. Most people don’t like a meeting but see them as a necessary evil. Adding insult to injury by running over and keeping people late just leads to a workforce who resent you. If you’ve followed all the tips so far, you’ve been respectful of your employees and their time, so don’t undermine yourself now by allowing the meeting to go past the allocated end time.
Keeping these pointers in mind when planning your next meeting will help you have a meeting that won’t go down in company history as ‘that Friday when we all sat around for 2 hours chewing the fat’. Keep your workforce motivated by getting to the point and keeping up momentum.
If you’d like more insight into how to execute an effective meeting, you can download our latest Guide here. Enjoy your amazing meeting!
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