Don't you just love meetings? They’re always a blast. OK, so that might be pushing it, but you get our point - meetings.
Unless they’re about something genuinely important, most professionals will tell you that meetings are a waste of time. And for the most part, they’re right. Conducted in stuffy boardrooms, with old-school technology and vague objectives, traditional meetings are the ultimate time-drainer.
But they don’t have to be terrible. With a few simple tweaks, you can turn your meetings into lean, mean efficiency machines. Here’s how.
Plan like a pro
Jump straight into your weekly meeting without an agenda, and you’re just asking for trouble. Pointless tangents, heated arguments, and a bored team are all signs you’ve failed to put together an effective game plan.
So before you send out the meeting invites, draw up a strategy.
- First up, set an objective. Mr Facebook himself, Mark Zuckerberg always starts his meetings by stating a clear goal, which he says ensures everyone stays on track.
- Decide who actually needs to attend. In most cases, you’ll only need to include the decision makers and those directly involved in implementation.
- In your meeting invite, be clear and concise about the objective of the meeting so that everybody is on exactly the same page.
- Create a time slot and stick to it. If you think you can get everything done in 10 minutes, don’t assign half an hour “just in case”. If everyone’s aware that there’s limited time, they’ll simply step things up a gear.
- Don’t wait for latecomers. By holding off the meeting until everyone’s arrived, you’re setting a dangerous precedent.
Want more productive meetings? Download our checklist "How to improve productivity in the workplace".
Make the most of tech
When it comes to meetings, nothing beats speaking face-to-face. It builds relationships, boosts trust and drives participation. In other words: body language speaks louder than words. But with many of us working remotely, physical meetings are often a rare event, boosting both their length and the pressure to get them right.
Enter virtual meetings. With the help of video, you can get all the benefits of speaking face to face, without dragging everyone into the office. Plus, with live screen and file sharing, it’s super easy to keep productivity on track, even when your team is apart.
Shake things up
Nobody likes a dull routine. So if your weekly meetings are starting to feel stale, try shaking things up a little. Here’s how.
- Start asking for feedback. You might think the meeting was a roaring success, but your team could have other ideas.
- Consider other locations for your meetings. Sunny day? Try taking it outside. Battling against the afternoon slump? Head to the nearest coffee shop. Sometimes all it takes is a change of scenery to get the ideas flowing.
- Meetings don’t have to be a race to the finish line. Feel the room – if everyone’s lagging, take a break.
- Trying to tighten up your meetings? Try standing up. Known as a ‘stand-up’, these short daily sessions put a stop to rambling and give everyone an opportunity to check in before they get down to business.