Productive meetings are one of the most elusive aspects of working, especially if a professional is working with a larger company. Meetings can be run aground for any number of reasons, including late arrivals, poorly prepared presentations or even tension between co-workers. Professionals can expect productivity to plummet, especially in extremely busy months. So how can companies have more productive meetings?
One of the most common ways to derail a meeting is to focus more on the process than the outcome. Professionals who are obsessed with following by-the-book meeting procedures rather than focusing on what the meeting needs to accomplish cannot only hurt productivity, but can also suddenly cause company meetings to take twice as long as they need to. Remember to focus in on what needs to get done, not how to get it done. If a meeting is scheduled for an hour, don’t feel pressure to make it last for the entire hour. Place discussion items or topics on a priority list and work through them one by one; this can often shorten meetings by cutting out unneeded information, extra discussion or irrelevant tangents. Productive meetings rely on efficiency, so don’t drown in irrelevant or extra details.
Be prepared, but be flexible. Know exactly what information needs to be delivered during the meeting and create a relevant, efficient presentation around it. Whether through a note-taking app like Evernote or through PowerPoint presentations, arriving prepared is a sure-fire way to make it a more productive meeting. Likewise, be flexible with scheduling and attendees. Try keeping the list of attendees fairly short so that scheduling can in turn be more flexible. If a professional is attempting to schedule a meeting with 100 attendees, he will probably have a difficult time finding a day that works for each of those 100 people. While it may be tempting to include every individual working on a project, it is often unnecessary and can lead to wasting other professionals’ time.
A final way to have productive meetings is to end the meeting with a short feedback or informational round. Allow attendees to share short snippets of feedback so that no one leaves the meeting feeling unheard. In this feedback, be sure to include details such as any additional notes and any relevant extra information, but remember to keep this round short to ensure better productivity in meetings.
If a company finds that productive meetings are hard to come by in its work environment, these small changes can really affect the way meetings are conducted. By keeping the list of attendees short, allowing flexible scheduling, keeping meeting times to a minimum and allowing for short rounds of feedback, companies can encourage meetings that accomplish goals and get work done.
Image courtesy thinkpanama on Flickr.com