Another day, another dull work meeting. It feels like your company is just meeting after meeting, most without a clear goal or focus.
If you’re suffering from meeting fatigue, you’re not alone—many companies don’t know how to maximize their meetings at work. They’re an effective tool, if the meeting is run well, but otherwise, they can be a waste of time.
If you’d like to make your meetings more productive, keep reading to find seven tips for improving meeting productivity today.
- Start and End on Time
When you’re in charge of meetings at work, one of the most important considerations is punctuality. Simply, the meetings need to start on time and end on time.
Your colleagues have busy schedules and nothing can throw off someone’s day more than a meeting that runs late. Or, dealing with the frustration of sitting in a meeting room, waiting for your colleague to arrive.
If meetings are constantly running over, it’s probably because discussions are going off-topic or you’re trying to cram too much information into one meeting.
When running a meeting, ensure it starts on time and wrap it up when you’re coming to the end of the allotted time. This also shows consideration for those who’ve booked the meeting room space after you and might be waiting for you to finish so they can have their meeting.
- Create an Agenda
Decide on the topics for team meetings at work ahead of time and create a meeting agenda. You’ll want to hand this out to all attendees in advance, either by printed copy or email.
For longer meetings, include the time allotted for each topic, plus scheduled break times.
An agenda helps people prepare for the meeting, so they know what to expect. It’s also a useful tool for keeping the meeting on topic, as it’s easy to veer off topic on a tangent.
If this happens, you can refer attendees back to the agenda and steer the conversation back on course.
- Take Minutes
To make your meeting more productive, always take meeting minutes of what was said, main action points, and follow-up actions. After the meeting, distribute the notes to everyone who attended.
This can also help if anyone was absent from work on the day and had to miss the meeting. It also helps keep everyone accountable, as it’s a written record of what needs to be done after the meeting ends.
Taking minutes also makes it easier for staff to discuss and get involved, since they don’t need to worry about taking their own notes during the meeting.
Without notes, the meeting likely won’t accomplish much, so take minutes seriously for all of your important meetings.
- Encourage Everyone to Participate
For a meeting to be effective, everyone in the room needs to participate. However, some people are naturally more outspoken than others, which can make this a challenge sometimes.
Since you want all viewpoints to be represented in the meeting, encourage staff to get involved by asking questions and giving everyone a chance to answer.
You can also encourage participation by creating buy-in—that is, convincing people why the meeting is worth their time. It also helps to break everyone into small groups for discussion, so everyone gets to speak their mind.
Having props, such as whiteboards, sticky notes, and large pads of paper can help too.
- Keep it Small
If possible, limit the size of your meeting and only invite essential staff members. Too often, meetings become bloated, full of people who don’t really need to be there.
This ends up wasting the time of your staff and making the meeting more complicated than it needs to be, so keep it small and simple.
You can always share the meeting notes with those who weren’t in attendance—that way all key stakeholders say informed, even without being there.
- Keep the Meeting Positive
One great tip for meeting productivity is to keep the meeting positive, as much as possible. Sitting in a boring, negative meeting is going to bring staff down and they’ll want to get out of there as soon as possible.
However, a positive, optimistic meeting is going to accomplish more and keep staff focused and engaged. Although it’s true that you’ll occasionally have to share bad news, give some thought as to how you deliver it.
- Don’t Forget to Follow-Up After the Meeting
After the meeting is finished, the work isn’t done yet! Make sure to follow-up with everyone who attended, thanking them for their time.
Share the meeting notes via email, noting who is responsible for each task. You might need another meeting in a few weeks to check progress, so schedule that as far in advance as you can, so staff can prepare.
Have More Productive Meetings at Work With These Tips
If your meetings at work need to be more productive, the tips above are sure to help. Think about which areas of your meetings could use improvement, then make some changes to the way you chair your meetings.
With a few changes, you’ll find that your meetings go faster, accomplish more, and provide more benefit to the company. Your staff will probably be happier too, as improving meeting organization shows you value their time.
Get started today and increase company productivity!
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