The third most prominent source of wasted time at work is meetings. Meetings, whether in groups or one-on-one, can take up to 50% of a worker's time. Meetings, though, are not necessarily bad. Meetings are a crucial tool in business for exchanging information, resolving issues, and assessing progress. However, they must be controlled and used wisely if they are to be avoided. Here are five strategies to make meetings more productive and provide better outcomes.
- Strengthen taking notes and attentive listening - Participants will get the most out of each in-person meeting if you coach your team on active listening (listening to comprehend contrasted to listening to respond) and good note-taking. Team members will recall the following steps and other action items if they take notes in some way, whether by hand or with a digital device.
- Keep focused and minimize distractions - You might want to add a little spice to your meetings to keep your colleagues interested. Otherwise, maintaining everyone concentrated and on task is a good idea. Ensure that everyone gets a chance to contribute, and seek to address any sticking or pain points. Maintain an interaction, brainstorming, and settling rhythm as you check items off the list.
- Before you meet, make an agenda available to your team - Include the important who, why, what, and how information in your agenda. Who is going should be known to your team. Simply state the concerns that need to be handled in order, and take note of who is invited to discuss each item.
- Go forward and implement those bullet points - As you proceed through the meeting, you may include this in each item on the agenda. Everyone should leave the table knowing exactly what steps they will take to proceed. You can save much time and effort as a project moves along if each participant leaves the meeting knowing what and how to accomplish next.
- To keep on task and maximize effectiveness, use your meeting agenda - Each participant must have a copy of the agenda in advance. If at all feasible, give time for comments and inquiries. Your team may end up helping you in refining your initial plan. One method to keep everyone on the same page and track demands and progress at a glance for your team is to have a multi-feature tool.