how to make your meetings more productive

How to make your meetings productive? Don’t waste time

Who has never had the feeling of wasting time in a meeting? Meetings that could be solved with an email, that lengthen endlessly, that do not lead to anything concrete… Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

According to Get a Klu, a consultancy dedicated to business training, on average professionals lose 31 hours a month at unproductive meetings… But, before you consider to do without any kind of meeting, we warn you that this would not be the most appropriate either. Meetings are needed to make working teams more responsive and effective.

An excess or misuse of them, however, can make them an obstacle to our productivity. To avoid that, in today’s article we show you the essential tips to make your meetings as productive as possible.

Before the meeting

Step 1) Ask yourself: Is it essential to organize this meeting?

Except when sensitive or important communications have to be moved; meetings are often not the best way to share information. Therefore, consider whether there are more effective methods to solve the issue.

An email, video conference or message via corporate social networks are valid alternatives and much more agile than a face-to-face meeting.

Step 2) Define the purpose of the meeting and the topics to be addressed

Every meeting must have a specific purpose. Otherwise, attendees will doubt the usefulness of the meeting and will not be as focused as we wish. A clear and specific objective is key to not end up rambling on several issues without making progress on any of them.

Step 3) Summon attendees and make sure they are well informed

No one should go to a meeting as a “listener”. Be guided by this principle when you have doubts about whether or not someone should attend the meeting. Invite only people who have something to contribute on the topic.

When choosing the date for the meeting, it is usually very practical to make use of planning tools to check the availability of attendees. Also, if documentation is needed to prepare the meeting, we recommend using cloud tools to share it with attendees.

Finally, try to send the call in good time. So attendees will have time to prepare and adjust their agenda to be at the meeting.

During the meeting

Step 4) Start and end the meeting on time

Don’t penalize people who arrive on time. We all have important things to do; so this is not reason enough to justify tardiness.

If someone is late, don’t start all over again. If the person shows up after hours and discovers that important information has been lost during his absence, he will learn a valuable lesson: the importance of being punctual. The rest of the people will appreciate you showing respect for their time.

To make a meeting more effective, try not to exceed the hour and a half. After this time frame, people lose attention and are less involved.

It is also important to end the meeting at the appointed time. To do this, it can help to have visible on a screen or board the agenda with the points to be treated. Thus, you encourage people to be more focused and you avoid that the meeting lasts longer than it should.

Step 5) Remember the purpose and agenda of the meeting

Once the meeting begins, it’s critical that you put attendees in context. Even though you have already sent them the information, the most common thing is that by now they do not remember 100% all the data and information you provided. Therefore, refreshing your memory at the beginning of the meeting is a good idea.

From here, we have to make sure that the times and issues are respected; and try to channel the meeting if we see that at some point it loses its focus.

Step 6) Encourage participation and take notes

As we have said before, in a meeting nobody should be just “listener”. Therefore, since all people have something to contribute, it is vital that they all do it; even those less likely to speak. Therefore, it is important that you encourage participation and create a good climate where all attendees feel comfortable to participate and provide feedback.

It is also advisable to take notes in a paper notebook (not on an electronic device, as other people may assume you are doing other tasks). Memory is often treacherous, so it doesn’t hurt to document the ideas and decisions that arise.

Step 7) Specified in the conclusions

Closing a meeting is essential define the actions, those responsible for them and the deadlines for carrying them out. At this stage, it is essential to get people to commit to doing the action within the deadline. When the rest of the attendees witness that commitment, people have a much greater incentive to fulfill their tasks. Although it may seem silly, this simple detail usually gives very good results.

After the meeting

Step 8) Follow Up

You’d be surprised how many times people leave the same meeting with completely different interpretations of what happened. To reduce this risk, send a note to attendees highlighting agreed decisions. Try to do it within 24 hours after the meeting to encourage the start of tasks as soon as possible.

If you are interested in improving your productivity you cannot miss the articles below, they will help you make the most of your time and teach you to manage your tasks in the most positive way possible.

Do you think meetings are useful? What do you do to make them more productive?

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