5 Ways To Make Meetings More Effective

What use are business meetings? Studies show that meetings fill an increasing number of hours in the average workday, and yet most employees consider them a waste of time. According to employees, meetings are responsible for more wasted time than office politics, social media or chatting with co-workers.

Meetings are also a necessary part of any business. With a bit of planning you can make your meetings more efficient and your employees will come away with a sense of purpose, more prepared to tackle the job at hand. Before your next meeting, consider these five tips that will help you use your time more wisely:

  1. Set an objective. A clear and well-defined objective should be outlined before the start of any meeting. Everyone taking part should arrive already knowing what needs to be accomplished, and what is expected of them. Will it be a brainstorming session? Are you checking up on a project’s progress? Has there been a change of plans your team needs to be aware of? With an objective decided in advance, not only will your meeting stay on-topic, but it informs the rest of your team what they have to bring to the table to keep the meeting running smoothly and on-schedule.
  2. Invite only who is necessary. A full guest-list might seem effective but the truth is that more people will slow down the meeting and an attendee who feels redundant will leaving thinking their time has been wasted. If you’ve already defined your meeting’s objective, it will be easier to decide you needs to be there. Consider who will be affected by the meeting and who can provide the information you need.
  3. Make a schedule and keep to it. Now that you know why you are meeting and who will be there, you can plan an agenda. Consider every subject that needs to be covered and how long to devote to each topic. It will keep the meeting running on-time and your tasks prioritized. By posting the schedule in plain site at the start of the meeting it will also help keep the attendees more focussed.
  4. Be blunt. A single, well-meaning person can derail a meeting by monopolizing the conversation. By firmly and politely shutting down the speaker you can keep the meeting on schedule, on topic and get the input you need from the rest of the group. It also lets everyone else know that you respect their time by enforcing the agenda.
  5. Follow up. Even the best planned meeting can leave the attendees with mixed interpretations of what is expected of them. You can prevent this by sending everyone a memo highlighting the key points of the meeting and all the tasks that were delegated. With everyone aware of the role they played and their own responsibilities, they will come away feeling like a key member of the team.