Meetings are a crucial part of any business and vital in helping employees get a better understanding of what they need to achieve. Knowing the difference between a successful meeting and a waste of time is essential for anyone looking to be productive and get the most out of their working day yet it’s something many of us feel is purely just a waste of time, effort and money.
There are a reported 62 meeting attended each month by the average employee which can rack up a lot of time and money - $37 billion is estimated lost each year due to unproductive meetings and employees are said to find half of these meetings a waste of time.
With these surprising statistics in mind, CT Business Travel have taken to looking at how we can switch our meetings from the mundane and time consuming to the effective and useful.
We present to you 9 ways in which you can make sure you have effective meetings.
By setting an agenda before the meeting, you give everyone in attendance the opportunity to come prepared and ready – which will hopefully, in turn, result in a more focused meeting where everyone is on the same wavelength. People would just as easily expect the person in charge to be prepared and ready, so why shouldn’t everyone else.
Having someone in charge of proceedings will help keep your meeting on track. The leader of the meeting should be comfortable organising the meeting and be respected amongst the wider team. The leader will be responsible for steering the meeting in the right direction and to be sure that all the essential pointers (and what the meeting was initially designed for) are all discussed and dealt with.
Having devices roaming around the meeting space is a dangerous and hazardous habit, and is just asking for instant distraction when any employee gets a new email. To avoid distraction, consider banning any unnecessary device during meetings time to keep distractions at bay. It will also serve as a nice little vacation away from the constant stream of popups and updates, which will also no doubt help with productivity.
Having too many people in your meeting will cause chaos and mean that there are too many voices and opinions trying to be heard over one another. By keeping your meetings to around 4-7 people, you cut out the time it would take to get round to everyone in a larger meeting.
The best way to help limit your meetings is to take into consideration who needs to be there and who will be able to contribute adequately towards proceedings. Anyone who doesn’t necessarily need a direct involvement in the meeting can be sent over a recap in an email later on.
The Swiss are known for their productivity, so if anyone knows anything about keeping on track and meeting targets then it should be them. If you team struggle to meet on time and are constantly hoarded with multiple delays then try suggesting specific start frames.
Very specific start dates, such as 9.23am or 10.46am, will not only add a sense of importance to making the start time but will also add a sense of curiosity to your team.
Stick to the core intended purposes of your meeting and try not to get side-lined by other things, such as updates. If it can just as easily be done by sending an in-house email, then do that instead. Not only will you save time but you’ll also avoid the risk of stopping peoples ‘train of thought’ in terms of working on other tasks.
Sometimes, a normal sit-down meeting just doesn’t help the productive juices to flow.
Changing your location every now and again and simply getting out of the office for a short while can help people think more creatively. People may be less pressured into having a specific idea when they’re not in the usual working surroundings.
The longer a meeting goes on for, the more likely it is that people will lose focus and concentration. Minds will have wandered off and will therefore turn your meeting into an ineffective mess. Keep chit-chat to a minimum and get straight down to the pointers if you want to keep your team focused and on-track.
Recapping the meeting will be effective for a number of different reasons.
By going over what has been discussed, your team will all be on the same wavelength and have an accurate understanding of how to move forward. It also helps to lure back any team members who might have been staggering behind and need to catch up or clarify a certain point.
By following these 9 steps, you will no longer have a meeting that drags on for ages or feels like it has simply lost all meaning and most importantly, you will make an effective use of everyone’s time – including your very own.
Take a look at the full infographic from CT Business Travel here.