Nothing makes professionals more annoyed than an unproductive meeting. You feel trapped in a small room as your inbox piles up and your mind races with everything you could be accomplishing otherwise. Although meetings are necessary, they’re often not as productive as they could be. Luckily, there are many strategies you can practice to ensure that your meetings are informative, timely, and valuable for everyone involved.
1. Start and End Time
If you start a meeting 10 minutes late just once, people will start thinking that is the norm, and never make an effort to show up on time. Always make sure that you stick to your planned start and end time. People will notice that you value their time, and appreciate you for that.
2. Stick to your agenda
Getting off topic once is easy, and it’s usually a downward spiral. Walk into every meeting with a circulated agenda and do your best to stick to it. The more organized you are coming into a meeting, the more productive the meeting will be. Also, make sure that you have all the reading material you need pulled up on your computer before the start of the meeting. Sometimes this requires showing up 10 or 15 minutes early to prepare.
3. Be considerate of attendees time
If you anticipate that your meeting will last over an hour, make sure that you schedule breaks for attendees to use the restroom and check email. If you fail to do so, attendees will be distracted and worried that they have been disconnected for too long, resulting in missed information discussed during the meeting.
4. Be polite
Do your best not to say things that could offend people attending the meeting. A meeting is not the appropriate place or time to bring up personal issues with others. If you have an issue with someone in particular, make sure that you schedule a one-on-one meeting with them rather than calling them out in front of their coworkers.
5. Keep it as short as possible
We are all busy, and most of us would rather not waste half of the workday in meetings. By keeping your meeting structured and to the point, you can discuss important talking points, while still having plenty time left in the day to do actual work.
6. Keep it small
Try to limit meetings to 10 or less people. The more people that you add in the mix, the more attendees become spectators. The point of most meetings is to give everyone the chance to ask questions or voice concerns. When meetings are too large many people are not given the chance to be involved.
7. Avoid reading from a screen
Unless you want everyone in the meeting to doze off, it’s smart not to read straight from a presentation. Visuals are indeed a great way to stay organized and on topic, but they can also bore attendees half to death. Try including more pictures and less text.
8. Encourage everyone to get involved
Sometimes there is that one strong personality in a meeting that tends to take control, regardless of the value they bring. By asking everyone personally their thoughts or ideas, you’re giving them a comfortable opening to speak up.
9. Choose a comfortable area
Make sure that wherever you hold a meeting there is enough space for everyone to feel comfortable. There is nothing more awkward than having to have some attendees stand while others sit. Here at Launch Workplaces we have fully furnished conference rooms to accommodate all meeting sizes.
10. Always follow-up
This is a step that many people tend to neglect. Compile notes on what was discussed during the meeting and make sure everyone who attended receives a copy. This helps people better understand the action they need to take now that the meeting has ended.
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