Meetings can be productive tools for business teams, but only if used effectively.
Meetings are supposed to get employees, partners, and leaders together for mutual communication and team work, but too often they just end up wasting time. Instead of spending the hour creating a solution or directly addressing an issue, you end up using the first 15 minutes making small talk, 10 minutes gathering materials, 15 minutes talking about the actual problem, and then maybe 20 minutes chatting about off-subject matters.
Because of this lack of focus, meetings waste countless hours of worker time. But we keep scheduling and showing up to them, assuming they’re just a necessary evil.
It’s hard to run any business without some meetings, but we can certainly make them more productive by observing the following principles:
- Invite the right people. Don’t include everybody on a team. Only invite workers who can truly contribute to the issue at hand. People outside that inner circle won’t be able to add much.
- Establish the Purpose. Why are you calling this meeting? What is the goal? Make sure your attendees realize this.
- Set an agenda. Participants should know exactly why you’re holding your meeting, Provide everyone with an agenda ahead of time.
- Set a firm time limit. We often think an hour is better than 15 minutes, but in many cases you’ll get more done in 15 minutes, since it creates the pressure of the time limit to keep you on task.
- Designate a meeting leader. Someone should be in charge of keeping the meeting on task. It could be the main facilitator or someone else in the group. Either way, they need to make sure the meeting items follow the set agenda.
By following these guidelines, a team will waste less time in meetings―and get more done during their time together.