Three Ways to Run Better Meetings

Joseph Stubblebine
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Executives spend approximately one-third of their work time in meetings, reports Rachel Silverman of "The Wall Street Journal." Unfortunately, running a meeting isn't always a productive use of your time. If people arrive late or stray from the agenda, it is difficult to accomplish shared goals. Avoid wasting time by following these three tips for running effective meetings. Your team will get more done in less time, increasing productivity and boosting morale.

Running a meeting is difficult if attendees are distracting you by using their laptops or mobile devices. Keep everyone on the same page by asking people to leave their devices at their desks. Participants will be able to take notes the old-fashioned way, but you won't have to worry about whether people are paying attention to you. Banning electronic devices from meetings is also a good way to ensure participants are fully engaged. People are more likely to come up with good ideas if they are not chatting with friends or playing games while you are running a meeting.

Freelance journalist Matt Palmquist says meetings are a major source of dissatisfaction for employees. This is especially true of meetings that start late or keep going long past their scheduled end times. One way to run a better meeting is to make sure you stay on track. Insist employees show up a few minutes early so they can find seats and get ready to participate, and maintain control of the meeting by tabling topics not listed on the agenda. If you usually meet for thirty minutes, try cutting the meeting down to fifteen minutes. People will be less likely to introduce new topics if they have a limited amount of time to speak. Keeping meetings on schedule improves productivity and shows employees you value their time.

Running a meeting is especially difficult if you do it on a daily basis. People are likely to tune out if you always talk about the same topics or use the same format for every meeting. Improve your meetings by shaking things up a bit. Instead of diving right into your discussion, ask employees for their input or do a quick icebreaker. Invite a guest speaker to talk about a topic of importance to your staff members; asking other people to get involved allows your staff to hear different points of view. Running a meeting is a lot easier when people are engaged, so keep things fresh if you want to keep your meeting from being a waste of time.

If you want to succeed as a manager, running effective meetings must be one of your priorities. Improve your meetings by banning electronic devices, sticking to a schedule, and keeping things fresh. If you consistently follow these tips, you will find that running a meeting gets easier over time.



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