Do you love meetings? No, of course not. Most people dread meetings and prefer to have fewer or no meetings because when you are in meetings, you are usually not being productive. We can go into why businesses spend so much time in unproductive meetings, but it’s not going to help your business to understand why. Instead, we’ll focus on how to make meetings more productive.
Here are some ideas for making meetings more productive:
- Have a clear focus – Make meetings focus on a few key things such as current work priorities, what issues are creating problems, and what needs to be resolved. The bottleneck issues can become action items. A short meeting of this type, daily or weekly, can keep things on track.
- Don’t forget an agenda – This seems obvious; you’re having a meeting! What’s the agenda? What are we going to talk about? The fact is most meetings have no agenda, and if your company has meetings with no agenda, you are wasting time and money.
- Appoint a leader and time tracker – Someone should be leading the meeting and someone, perhaps the same person, should be keeping time. But regardless of who does it, someone should be in charge of making sure each meeting stays on track.
- Avoid trying to solve every problem on the spot – Don’t try to completely solve all problems in the meeting itself. Instead use the meeting to understand and clarify issues. Once you understand a problem that needs to be solved, you can assign the people and resources and track the outcomes in future meetings.
- Include the right people – Make sure that you have the right number of people and the right people in your meetings. Be careful that you don’t fill up the room with a lot of people who don’t really need to be there.
- Select good meeting times – Try to have your meetings at times that have the least impact on the company and your customers. This way, meetings are not keeping people from actually doing work when they are likely the most productive or most likely to be servicing customers.
Every organization needs meetings to ensure the business will be successful. The mission should be accepting that meetings are necessary and learning how to make them positive and productive.