Have you ever sat in a meeting with your direct leader, or a group of your employees and wondered “Is anyone actually getting any benefit from being in this meeting?” I can guarantee that we have all thought this at least once in our business careers. As a business owner or team leader, you must be aware of the benefits (or lack of benefits) tied to each meeting in your organization. Below are four ways to ensure your meetings are productive:
Create a Structure
Meetings become inefficient when there is not a set agenda or structure. However, efficient meetings always have an agenda. This agenda is complete with specific topics that need to be covered and specific people that need to give out information. It is also key to appoint a meeting leader. This leader will be responsible to run the meeting and keep it on task. Without a specified leader, meeting attendees can be distracted by speaking out of hand or getting off topic. The role of the leader is to keep all attendees in line, stay on topic, and be sure that all tasks are delegated appropriately.
In many organizations there are multiple meetings that happen daily and weekly. Nothing is more inefficient and disruptive than a meeting that does not run on time. Standing meetings that take place each week, must always be scheduled and the schedule must always be obeyed. Be sure to start each meeting on-time and be strict about following the meeting schedule. Doing this will allow you, as the leader, to control your day. If you have multiple, different meetings with individuals in your organization, stack the meetings. For example, if you are conducting 1-on-1 meetings with your employees, plan them back to back. Doing so will allow you to better focus, as you will have a similar goal to accomplish within each meeting.
Position vs. Contribution
Traditionally, meetings consist of all members within a team or office. However, traditional meetings have lost their touch and need to be replaced. Rather than inviting team members to a meeting based on their position or title, invite them based on the contribution they will share. Having company-wide meetings is important, although should be executed on a monthly or quarterly basis. Furthermore, weekly or daily meetings need to be more focused and goal-oriented within specific departments or projects. Narrowing the attendees will help you to have productive meetings as those involved will actually be invested in the goal.
Preparation is Key
The meeting leader and everyone in attendance, must come prepared. As the meeting leader, you must prepare the schedule, the topics to be covered, the questions to ask, and then set expectations for the group. Everyone should understand what they are expected to contribute at each meeting. Creating this expectation will allow for greater productivity and less confusion. By not preparing the outline for each meeting, you are setting yourself up for inefficiency. It is helpful to use the same outline for each meeting and update the topics or goals at hand.
Time is the most valuable asset in any company, and it is not something you can get back. That being said, use your time wisely – use your meeting-time wisely. By following the above tips, you will see increased meeting productivity, and furthermore increased productivity in the workplace.
At Metrix we teach the “Level 10” meeting format, a concept we borrowed from one of our favorite books, Rocket Fuel. This structure allows for us to be very purposeful and efficient in our meetings, and it has forever removed the “meeting to schedule more meetings” from our agendas! For a great summary of the Level 10 format, check out Click Here to Learn More about Level 10 Meetings