Ways to Make Meetings More Efficient

Does your team hate meetings? If so, they’re certainly not alone!

Time-wasting meetings are one of the biggest complaints in the business world, with 47 percent of respondents to an Atlassian poll complaining that meetings are the top time waster in their workday. In fact, 37 percent of employee time is spent in meetings according to the National Statistics Council.

Meetings have a tendency to drag on, regardless of if they need to or not. But supervisors love to hold meetings because it gives them a chance to connect with their team, allowing them to keep them up-to-date on recent developments, or pass important information on to them.

The challenge, then, is finding a way to keep meetings both effective and relevant. The good news is that making meetings more efficient doesn’t have to be difficult –here’s a look at some simple ways that you can reduce frustration, and improve your team’s engagement during your meetings –making them more productive, more effective, and more enjoyable for everyone.

Keep It Relevant

Not every meeting requires attendance from everyone in your department. If there’s an upcoming meeting that isn’t relevant to some employees, then there’s no reason to require them to attend. Before you send out a notice, consider what’s on the agenda, and only invite the ones that the information or discussion is pertinent to.

Send Out Materials Ahead of Time

Here’s a trick that Mark Zuckerberg uses to maximize meeting efficiency. He asks his team to send out materials in advance so that the meeting time can be used for discussion, rather than looking at materials. It’s a simple way to make the most of your meetings.

Have a Clear Purpose

Having a clear purpose for your meeting is the best way to keep everything –and all of the attendees on track. Before you get started, state the purpose of your meeting and outline your goals for it so everyone’s on the same page.

Start on Time

Nothing kills a meeting quite like waiting 10 or 15 minutes for everyone to show up. Not only does this encourage tardiness, it frustrates and discourages those who have made an effort to be there on time! Arrive early, and get set up so that you can start the meeting as scheduled. This will help to promote punctuality and keep the meeting on track.

Stick to the Agenda

Having an agenda isn’t going to do you any good if you don’t stick to it. To ensure that your meeting stays on track –and that no one journeys too far down a rabbit hole, consider referring back to the agenda if a discussion gets too far off course. You may also want to appoint a few different people to present different data or lead separate discussions, to ensure that everything gets covered –and to break the meeting up, helping it to go faster.

Try to Finish Early

If you’ve allocated an hour for your meeting, chances are it will take up that full hour. While some meetings require more time than others, in most cases, meetings are drawn out for far too long. Instead, consider making an effort to cut the meeting time in half, if possible –or at least ending it a bit early. If everything’s been covered, there’s no reason that you can’t let your team out early. Whatever you do, though, try to avoid going over the scheduled time at all costs!

Ask for Feedback

Once the meeting has been adjourned, you should consider gathering feedback from your employees to find out how the meeting went. Try to see whether they felt the meeting was successful, or if they think that it went on for too long. Take their suggestions into consideration. Who knows? They just might have some good ideas that you can use to improve your meetings in the future.

Finally, you may be surprised at home many meetings could be exchanged for a simple in-person discussion or a simple note that’s sent via email. If you have something to share, consider communicating it in another way –and save the meetings for those times where you need to have your entire team’s full attention.

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