A meeting that has been going for two hours without an end in sight? We’ve all been there and we can tell you there’s nothing productive about that meeting.
Professionals admit to losing up to 31 hours per month to unproductive meetings. So how can we hold shorter, more productive and dare we say, more fun meetings? We understand the havoc long meetings can wreak on your productive week, so here are 6 tips to help you out.
Implement or make these productive meeting suggestions and you’ll escape the culture of boring, long meetings in no time!
The length of meetings is almost always a pain point when it comes to meetings. To know how to fix this, it’s important to know why meetings are stretched in the first place. Parkinson’s law states that work expands to fill the time available for its completion. In simple words, we take all the allotted time (and more) to accomplish a certain task.
For this reason, start by scheduling meetings that don’t exceed 30 minutes. Our attention spans don’t cross 18 minutes, so make hay while the sun shines. Make it a part of your organisation to time every meeting (use timers, literally!). Respect everyone’s time by sticking to a schedule, and once the timer goes off, you can always reiterate important points and wrap it up.
A study conducted at Washington University reveals that standing up fires greater excitement about the creative process than sitting down. There is something about standing up that makes us want to get things done quickly. Who knew a little discomfort in stand-up meetings could make us more productive?
You can also shake it up by a little change of scenery. Give your team a chance to get away from the office and plan an off-site meeting at the beginning or the end of the day. These meetings can be on your office lawns or even in rented meeting spaces!
A D.R.I or a Directly Responsible Individual is a person responsible for an action item in the action list. This prevents people from assuming someone else will do a certain task.
Once you have decided on the action items at your meeting, make sure the person running the meetings sends that list back to all the attendees with the D.R.Is for these tasks. This ensures public accountability and takes your meeting productivity up a notch.
Even if your meeting is set to end in 15 minutes, setting and circulating the agenda ought to be your top priority. An agenda helps people know the topic of discussion and gives them time to prepare for it.
Keep in mind to add realistic numbers of action or discussion items. This way, you can make the most of your meeting while staying true to your agenda.
Choose one day in a week where no meetings are to be held. For example, let’s say you choose Monday to be your no-meeting day. This will give you a chance to finish off pending work from the weekend and time to focus and plan your week.
Conversely, you can also choose 2 fixed days a week to hold meetings. This gives you a clearer idea of your week and you can schedule the other 3 days only for execution!
The most important few minutes of any meeting is the recap. Use the last minute of your meeting to go over important points. Discuss what your next steps are, what the timeframe is and note down the D.R.Is. This way, you’re wrapping up the meeting with everyone on the same page.
After the meeting, send out a summary of your meeting minutes with the action items discussed and there you have it – a productive meeting achieved!
Are all your meetings taking place virtually? Check out our previous blog article on how you can avoid video call fatigue and make your virtual meetings more productive!