It happens to almost every company – does not matter if it is a small business or a large corporation: meetings that seem to last forever or with a lack of productivity. That is very common: according to a study, most employees attend to an average of 62 meetings per month – and half of them are considered unproductive and a waste of time. So how could you make meetings more productive?
Improving your productivity in meetings are not that hard. There are some tricks and basic time management techniques that could help - here you can find 5 tips to try on your next meeting:
Your meeting needs a clear objective
This is the first and most basic step to make your meetings more productive: you and your team must be sure what is the meeting about. If you are the organizer, you should:
- Invite your colleagues via e-mail, writing a summary of what you need to discuss;
- Encourage your team to bring ideas about the topic;
- At the beginning of the meeting, remind everyone about the purpose of the meeting – you can show a meeting agenda in a screen during the appointment, so people will think twice before bringing other topics to the table.
Cut the time of the meetings
Do you really need one hour to talk about your topic? You are probably used to schedule your appointments in 30- or 60-minutes blocks. But for some topics you don’t really need that much time. For example, if the purpose of the meeting is to share status, it can be done in 15 or 20 minutes. If you have a complex topic to discuss, then you can book more time. One good idea for short meetings is to talk while standing – you don’t need to sit for just 15 minutes and it is always a good idea to stand for some time since everyone spend the whole day in their chairs.
Also, don’t forget to leave a buffer – so your colleagues can have some time until their next meeting. It is important to have some time to breath between one appointment and another
You probably don’t need your laptop
If you want to make your meetings more productive, keep your laptop closed and ask the team to do the same - unless you need your computer to show information on the screen, of course. Even better: if possible, ask your colleagues to leave their computers in their desks. Chances are that, while someone is speaking, other attendants will get distracted by some e-mails and other tasks – and multitasking is one enemy of productivity.
Change your location and scenario
You and your team are used to go to the same meeting room and everyone assume a meeting-mode: sitting down, thinking about other tasks, checking e-mails and wonder how much time that meeting will take. Sometimes people need to change the scenario to make creativity flow. Maybe you can arrange a walking meting if you need to talk with just one person or even two people – going outside could be great. Or you can go for a coffee to talk, or even book a meeting room in a different location if you need more focus and some isolation from your daily office.
Do you really need a meeting?
Let’s be honest: some topics and updates don’t really need a meeting. Some discussions could be just an e-mail to your team, asking for inputs and information or maybe a quick call. When you are thinking about scheduling a meeting, ask yourself if you really need to meet someone face-to-face to make progress on your subject. If not, just find out another way to talk to people without wasting time.
Now that you already know how to make meetings more productive you can start applying these techniques to your next appointments – ask your colleagues for some feedback in the changes so you can keep improving productivity.