Six tips for more productive meetings

“Too many meetings” and ‘meetings are a waste of time” are common frustration for employees, managers and business owners alike. While, well-run meetings are useful and an important part of business planning and employee motivation, in many instances’ meetings are poorly planned, fail to produce productive outcomes, decrease motivation and waste everybody’s time.

Here’s six tips to consider making your meetings more productive.

  1. Have an agenda. A structured approach ensures attendees are clear on meeting purpose and objectives in advance.
  2. Ask for an agenda.If you’ve been invited to a meeting and it’s not clear why, then ask for an agenda. Your time is valuable, and you should have clarity around why you’re invited, what’s expected of you and any preparation that’s required.
  3. Do you really need to hold a meeting?Use meetings for discussion, brainstorming or where face to face (or tele-conference) is of benefit. Don’t use meetings for ‘status updates’ or where information distribution can be handled via email or phone-call (if one-on-one).
  4. Consider shortening the meeting time.Do you really need the full hour, or will half an hour keep everyone more focused? Keeping hour meetings to 50mins or half-hour meetings to 25mins also gives attendees a ‘breather’.
  5. Be creative. Try a walking meeting, particularly for smaller one-on-one meetings, which has the added bonus of health benefits. Important notes or action items can always be noted down in your mobile! Also, teleconference meetings via ‘Zoom’ for example can be useful an option where not everyone is available for a face-to-face meeting.
  6. Document meeting actions.Don’t finish the meeting without being clear about who’s going to do what by when. Reporting back on action items from the previous meeting should be the first item of business for follow-up meetings.