Before organising a meeting you need to determine whether the meeting is really necessary. Do you need multiple people to attend, or just a few key players? Streamlining the meeting means it's more likely to be productive. I’m sure you’ve been at meetings where there are people attending who have no relevance to the end objective, which is a waste of time for everyone involved. Another factor to consider at this stage: does the meeting need to be in person, or could it be over a video call? Using a video call is an effective way to save time, money and energy, especially if any of your team work remotely.
Time Is Money
Make sure all attendees know of the meeting time well in advance and turn up on time. If there are latecomers you should be weary of recapping the meeting, as this effectively means restarting. This wastes everyone’s time, and the latecomers have no consequences for being tardy. Some companies have been known to remove empty chairs to make latecomers stand - extreme? Possibly, but your time and that of your employees should be respected. After all, time is money.
A good way to save time and get straight to the discussion is to hand out background material prior to the meeting. If people are handed information, they usually start reading it - doing this during the meeting means eating into your meeting time. In addition to saving time, handing out materials in advance also gives people time to prepare, email any questions to members in advance and spot any mistakes or issues. Furthermore, you need to be clear about people’s responsibilities in advance and create an agenda. Are you looking for a short update, a discussion, or a formal presentation? Being clear about your expectations leads to greater efficiency and avoids embarrassment and omissions.
Get To The Point
When planning a meeting you should always have an end goal in mind. Without a clear direction for your meeting, you will find yourself going off on tangents and not being as productive as you could be. It's important for the chair to stay on top of the meeting and guide it in the right direction.
Another key factor to make sure your meetings are effective is to ensure that the important issues are addressed first to get them out of the way, so if you do run out of time or people have to leave early, all you have left are the less important issues.
Finally, it’s important to take meeting minutes so people can refer back to the document to check what tasks have been assigned to them and others and what questions may have arisen. Think about this in advance, and make sure someone has the responsibility for taking minutes and writing them up afterwards.
Do you have any great tips for productivity in meetings? We’d love to hear them! Talk to us on Twitter or LinkedIn.