It's no secret that meetings are often unproductive and a huge waste of time. In fact, a study by Atlassian found that the average worker spends 31 hours in unproductive meetings every month.
That's a lot of time that could be spent actually getting work done! So what can be done to improve meeting culture and make them more productive?
By following these steps, you can boost your productivity and get back to work:
1. Stop having so many meetings.
This might seem counterintuitive, but bear with us. The more meetings you have, the less important each one feels and the less likely people are to take them seriously. If you only have a few meetings each month, people will be more likely to do proper preparation for them and actually contribute.
2. Make meetings shorter.
The average meeting length is 60 minutes, but most people feel that 30 minutes is the sweet spot. This way, people don't get too comfortable and start veering off-topic. In order to have effective meetings, it is crucial to prepare for a meeting and let everyone know the meeting agenda items in advance and define desired outcomes. Bonus Tip: Schedule your meetings always for 25 minutes so you and the other attendees have enough time to quickly prepare for the next meeting and won't be late.
3. Have a clear meeting agenda.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how often people go into meetings without a clear plan of what they want to achieve. However, defining the purpose of the meeting is crucial. Having a meeting agenda and defining meeting objectives not only keeps everyone on track, but also allows people to prepare in advance, so they can make the most out of it. One tip is to send the meeting agenda and the desired outcomes in the calendar invite in advance. Therefore, everyone has a better idea of what the meeting is about.
Having the meeting
4. Start on time and end on time.
This is another one that sounds obvious, but so often meetings start late and run over time. This sends the message that people's time isn't valued. If you start and end on time, it shows that you respect everyone's time and that you're serious about getting work done. To ensure, the meeting does not go over time, one can motivate the meeting participants to send questions ahead of time before the meeting starts. Therefore, one can get directly into the discussion as soon as the meeting begins. Of course, one reason why there are certain delays in meetings is that the location/meeting room (online and offline) is not clearly set. So make sure to always agree on a meeting location in advance with the other meeting participants.
5. Encourage active participation among the meeting participants.
Some people are naturally shy and might not speak up in meetings, even if they have something valuable to contribute. As the leader of the meeting, it's your job to encourage participation from everyone. Ask people for their opinions, give them time to think before they speak, and make sure everyone feels like they're being heard. One way to encourage active participation is to ask one of your team members to present different agenda items. The meeting becomes more dynamic if more than one person is speaking throughout the meeting. By getting everyone involved in the discussions, focus increases heavily.
6. Capture what is being discussed – take meeting notes.
In order to have a record of what was being discussed, it is important to capture meeting notes. This can be done by using bullet points or by using tools such as jamie. By noting down the key decisions of the meeting, it can be ensured that all meeting participants still know what was being discussed after the meeting. Furthermore, the meeting notes can also be shared with others, that were not part of the previous meeting.
After the meeting
7. Follow up when the meeting is over.
Just because the meeting is over, doesn't mean the work is done. Make sure to follow up with everyone after the meeting to ensure that tasks are being completed and deadlines are being met. By sharing meeting notes after a call, you can make sure that all of the meeting participants know what the next steps are.
Key takeaways on achieving effective meetings
To conclude, in order to have effective meetings, you need to do meeting preparation in advance. Clearly define a meeting agenda and send it to the meeting participants in advance. Make sure that everyone is clear on the agenda points and is encouraged to prepare questions in advance. During the meeting, you should engage everyone, while still facilitating the meeting and sticking to the structure. Make sure to capture what is being discussed in the meeting and share it with the other meeting participants afterward.
By following these steps, you can start to improve meeting culture and make them more productive. Just remember that it takes time to change years of bad habits, so be patient and keep at it!
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