Ever thought a meeting was a waste of time? You’re not
alone. In fact, one analysis found that, on average, 33% of meeting time is
unproductive for most participants.
Meetings will almost always be a necessity for professionals
though, especially if you work with a team. In this blog we outline the various
ways that you can improve your meetings, keep your team on track, and make the
most of your meetings!
Determine if any ideas, conversations, supplies,
etc. should be gathered prior to meeting start, and have that ready before the meeting.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “too many
cooks in the kitchen.” To avoid this, limit the number of attendees for your
meetings; you should be able to explain why each person is there. Too many
people or having wrong people can waste someone’s time or potentially
Every person present should contribute to specific
decisions that are to be made or take action after the meeting ends. If someone
is not going to be held accountable for the actions or decisions made, they
should not be in the meeting. Having someone in the room to generate ideas
isn’t enough of a reason to participate.
Have a defined meeting leader, not an assumed
role, so the leader can prepare in advance.
Set an agenda so everyone participating in the
meeting knows the primary activity or goal of the meeting. Then, STICK TO THE AGENDA. Keep the meeting
focused and moving forward. Do not get distracted by off topic plans or ideas.
The purpose of meetings should be making important
decisions, planning, information sharing, brainstorming, or problem solving.
Avoid side conversations. This is a major
distraction and can throw off an entire meeting. If you must, gently interrupt but
proactively be sure to steer the conversation back to the agenda and goal of
The meeting leader should be gentle but firm.
Keep the conversation focused and stay on task.
Respect one’s another time. Don’t waste others’
time with insignificant details. When you speak, speak with purpose.
Acknowledge everyone’s point and don’t interrupt.
should be a measurable objective stated at the beginning, before the
meeting starts. This will incentivize your team to focus the meeting toward reaching
that objective. Objectives should be clear and concise.
Ex: Proposal Due at End of Month
Goal: Break into Categories and Assign Duties
Purpose of Meeting: Determine How We Are Going to
Delegate the Work
Measurable Objective: Know exactly how we are
breaking down the proposal, approach, logistics required, and delegate specific
tasks to teams
Tip: Show measurable objective on whiteboard or
projector so everyone is aware and reminded of the purpose (if applicable)
If there are not measurable goals, then another
form of communication, such as a memo, may be the best way to accomplish the
information distribution. Make each meeting purposeful.
At the end of the meeting, make sure everyone
agrees that the objective has been achieved or that there has been significant
progress made toward that objective.
The Big Deadline
End each meeting with a plan and specific tasks
assigned to specific people with a deadline for completion for that action.
Be specific – be sure each person completely
understands and can restate their tasks to the meeting leader along with the
deadline for the delivery of the work.
Distribute a summary email that clearly states
all tasks, owners and deadlines so that your entire team is accountable to each
other and themselves.
Your meetings will be much more successful and productive if
you stick to these guidelines. By making your priorities and goals clear and transparent,
you will respect everyone’s time and provide more valuable teamwork.