GUEST BLOG: 3 As to productive meetings
Meetings are an essential part of everyday business. However, do you have some days or weeks where your calendar seems to be jam-packed, leaving you with little or no time to complete your other tasks?
There are some people who have meetings for the sake of meetings. There are some meetings you can avoid, and some that you can’t in order to keep moving the business forward. For these types of meetings, here are a few tips on how to make them more efficient and productive.
Agenda – distribute this before the meeting
If you’re leading the meeting, having a pre-planned agenda will aid you in laying out your aims and objectives. It’ll help you to cover the essential topics without getting side-tracked.
There’s nothing worse than walking into a meeting with people that don’t know the aim, haven’t brought the paperwork and spend minutes shuffling through them. With everyone aware of the agenda and fully prepared to tackle what is needed, you’ll be able to have a more efficient meeting.
If you’re not the organiser of the meeting, then don’t be afraid to ask for an agenda so you know what you need to prepare. No one likes walking into a meeting empty-handed and unable to answer any questions that could potentially arise.
Actions – someone to write up
Make sure someone is keeping notes of what is being discussed and the outcome of each point. If there are a lot of points to be covered, even the best of us may struggle to remember every single detail. Having someone jot this down as you go along will help avoid any disagreements or confusion that may arise in the future.
It’s always a lot more efficient to circulate an action plan or summary after the meeting, so everyone is clear what they need to do along with deadlines.
Allocated time slot – stick to this
If we had enough hours in the day, our meetings could go on for hours as we cover every detail but, of course, no-one has the time for that. Every meeting needs an allocated time slot to cover the main points; making sure you stick to this time-frame can ensure conversations don’t go astray and are more efficient. This doesn’t mean rush through the meeting and not cover the things you need to, cover the essentials but with a sense of urgency.
Also bear in mind the inefficiency of long meetings as a person’s concentration span can’t go on for prolonged periods of time. If it is necessary to have a long meeting, take breaks in between for everyone to recuperate their thoughts or check their emails, then gather together again.
These 3 As can hopefully give you a starter point as to how to make your meetings more efficient next time. Remember, have an agenda, have someone follow up on the actions and stay within the allocated time. Time is of the essence when doing business and every minute counts, so don’t waste time procrastinating or talking about irrelevant topics.
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